More criticism heaped on Planned Parenthood of Delaware’s Wilmington clinic at state senate hearing

By Dave Andrusko

Melody Meanor, who managed the clinic’s health center for three months in 2012, called today for justice for women who were treated there by personnel whom she says were poorly trained, working in disorganized conditions and routinely skipping important elements of patient care.  Jennifer Corbett/The News Journal

Melody Meanor, who managed the clinic’s health center for three months in 2012, called today for justice for women who were treated there by personnel whom she says were poorly trained, working in disorganized conditions and routinely skipping important elements of patient care.
Jennifer Corbett/The News Journal

The bad news for Planned Parenthood of Delaware’s Wilmington clinic continued to accumulate today with harsh testimony delivered at a bipartisan state senate hearing by Melody Meanor who managed the clinic’s health center for three months in 2012.

Meanor reinforced testimony from Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich and Joyce Vasikonis, two former nurses, who were sharply critical, first to the television station and then at an ad hoc hearing called back in May by two Delaware state Senators—one Republican and one Democrat. (See “Delaware files formal complaint against Planned Parenthood abortionist who represents a ‘clear and immediate danger to the public’”)

Meanor “called for justice for women who were treated there by personnel whom she says were poorly trained, working in disorganized conditions and routinely skipping important elements of patient care,” the News Journal reported online today.

“She  urged women treated there to seek outside medical attention to see if they had conditions that went unreported by clinicians at Planned Parenthood of Delaware, putting patients in ‘unnecessary danger,’” Beth Miller and Jonathan Starkey reported today.

In her prepared testimony, Meanor laid the blame squarely at the feet of PPFA management. She told the hearing

“Most of the abuses I observed at Planned Parenthood of Delaware stemmed from the fact that untrained health care assistants were assigned serious medical responsibilities that they were not trained to perform. Within the first few weeks of my employment by Planned Parenthood of Delaware, I suggested implementing a health care assistant comprehensive training program. These suggestions were rejected by management.

“The failure to properly train health care assistants was aggravated by greater demands for services than Planned Parenthood of Delaware was able to meet given the number and quality of the staff.  Because Pennsylvania has much stricter parental consent laws than Delaware, Planned Parenthood of Delaware received many underage patients from Pennsylvania in addition to the Delaware women who received abortions.

“As a result, a great deal of Planned Parenthood of Delaware resources had to be redirected to assist in abortion services. The untrained health care assistants hired to focus on family planning were diverted to help with abortions. Furthermore, newly hired health care assistants were discouraged from asking questions and were confronted with a backlash of verbal abuse.”

What Meanor testified to was eerily reminiscent of Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” abortion clinic in West Philadelphia. She also addressed an open-secret: “Abortions were a significant source of revenue at Planned Parenthood of Delaware.  And, unfortunately, in several ways, Planned Parenthood of Delaware treated abortion much more as a business transaction than as a service to clients.”

Back in May, the two nurses spoke of how “the Wilmington clinic performed ‘meat-market style assembly line’ abortions, focused most on profit margins, and put patients at risk for infection and other serious medical problems by neglecting proper standards of care.” Mitchell-Werbrich testified that “one abortion would be completed every 8-10 minutes” at the Wilmington PPFA site.

In her prepared statement Vasikonis said, “It would take me the entire afternoon to discuss all the deficiencies I discovered at Planned parenthood of Delaware during the 10 months I worked there.” She listed 22 separate problem areas that included severe management problems and insufficient staff training; outdated (and broken) equipment; “Quality and Risk management policies were not followed or enforced’; an abortionist who did not wear sterile gloves; and sexual and racial harassment.

Mitchell-Werbrich explained in her prepared statement that she had worked only 27 days at the Willingham and Dover sites. “I was forced to resign on August 8, 2012 as the conditions at Planned Parenthood continued to very unsafe and potential life threatening for the patients” despite numerous reports provided to Planned Parenthood administrators and a flock of state health regulatory agencies.”

Mitchell-Werbrich, who resigned after a few weeks on the job and noted that she (like Vasikonis) is not against abortion, said the Wilmington abortion clinic “was an absolute nightmare.”

The Willington clinic came under scrutiny when several abortion protesters noticed an unusual number of ambulances had been called. “Five women required emergency care after procedures,” according to the News Journal.

State officials said they could not substantiate the claims that Mitchell-Werbrich and Vasikonis reported  to the state in 2012.

However “federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the clinic for several violations, though, and this year the clinic’s primary physician, Dr. Timothy Liveright, surrendered his license to practice medicine in Delaware after regulators pursued claims against him, calling him a ‘clear and immediate danger to the public’ because of unprofessional, incompetent and negligent conduct,” according to Miller and Starkey .

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“Meanor repeated the nurses’ concerns that hundreds of women were never told that they tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases and others did not receive medication necessary to protect future pregnancies,” the News Journal reported. “She said she was directed to falsify records and alleged that a manager destroyed some records.”

Conditions were so bad that the national PPFA office attempted to distance itself. Last month, PPFA issued a statement in which it said, “Planned Parenthood of Delaware was aware that some staff and contractors did not meet our high standards of care and should have taken action sooner to remove them,” adding, “We are adding an enhanced follow-up protocol to our accreditation process to make sure that issues are addressed quickly when they are identified.”

But “Meanor said the clinic was cited and given ‘conditional’ certification by the Planned Parenthood Federation, which knew of concerns related to unsafe, unsanitary conditions.”

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