More suspensions for string of Maryland abortion clinics

By Dave Andrusko

In a story that carries eerily similar overtones to Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors,” the Baltimore Sun reported this afternoon that “State health regulators have suspended the licenses of several abortion clinics owned by Associates in OB/GYN Care for the second time after an employee with no health care license or certification gave a patient a drug [Misoprostol] to induce an abortion at the Baltimore facility.”

Testimony at his trial and evidence given to the Grand Jury proved that Gosnell routinely came in at night after his untrained and unlicensed assistants had already started the abortion procedure often many hours before he arrived.

The Sun story, written by Andrea K. Walker, paints a lengthy history of problems.

For example, on May 4 the employee at the Baltimore facility also performed an ultrasound on a woman carrying multiple babies, even though she had no training, again like Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society. The Sun says the “doctor” (abortionist) subsequently arrived but refused to perform the abortion, saying “this facility is not equipped to do this procedure safely,” according to the state records.

After receiving an anonymous complaint, the Office of Health Care Quality investigated and suspended its license on May 7. Other abortion clinics owned by OB/GYN Care—in Frederick, Silver Spring and Cheverly—were looked into and their licenses were as well, according to Walker.

“The investigation found that it was common practice to administer the drug Misoprostol to induce an abortion in patients 11 weeks or more pregnant even if the patient has not been seen by a doctor and there was no physician at the clinic,” Walker reported.

In March the OB/GYN-run clinics in Baltimore, Landover and Silver Spring had their licenses suspended “after a woman had complications following an abortion at the Baltimore facility and died at a local hospital,” Walker reported. The woman had trouble breathing, the state said, and “suffered cardiac arrest at the clinic, although the clinic disputed that assessment.”

An administrator with OB/GYN responded that “the patient suffered from a fatal heart condition, may have had defective heart valves and was probably in heart failure,” according to Walker.

State investigators found the woman’s death raised questions about whether doctors at the clinic could handle an abortion that goes wrong, although the conclusion was that the woman’s death “was caused by underlying conditions and not the abortion,” Walker reported.

In the same March timeframe (again, very much like what investigators found at Gosnell’s abortion clinic), other problems were found at the facilities. According to Walker investigators

“found the physician who performed the abortion wasn’t certified in CPR and the defibrillator at the clinic did not work. Investigators observed a patient at the Silver Spring clinic who was left alone for three minutes after waking up, leaving her at risk of falling. At the Landover location, the nurse did not know how to use the defibrillator or suction machine, and the defibrillator pads had expired.

“The licenses were reinstated about two weeks later after OB/GYN Care submitted what is called a ‘plan of correction.’ A spokeswoman for the clinics said at the time that the company had corrected the issues at all three facilities. The defibrillators were fixed and staff retrained. They also performed emergency drills.”

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