By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. While my family and I are on vacation, we are running some of our favorite NRL News Today stories from the last four months, entries from our “Roe at 40″ series, and an occasional update.
On June 6, NRL News Today ran a lengthy piece on four abortion clinics and three abortionists in Maryland, based on reports posted online by the Maryland Board of Physicians and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The licenses of the Associates in OB/GYN Care-run clinics in Baltimore, Cheverly, Frederick, and Silver Spring had been suspended in May by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The licenses of abortionists Iris Dominy, Michael Basco, and Mansour Panah were suspended subsequently by the Maryland Board of Physicians .
Since that time one— Panah, who was the medical director—has had his license reinstated, while another—Basco—has had his suspension upheld. There has been no hearing to date on Dominy.
The Baltimore Sun’s Alison Knezevich reported, “According to an order posted on the board’s website, documentation and other evidence that Panah presented ‘significantly changed the board’s preliminary findings.’” That led the board to conclude there was “no imminent danger to public health or safety posed by Dr. Panah practicing medicine at this time.”
Panah was responsible for patient care in February when a woman died following an abortion. “He previously had his license suspended by the board in 1988 for sexual contact with three patients and again in 1995 for sexual conduct with another patient,” the Daily Mail reported. “In 2011, he was placed on two years of probation by the board for failing to meet appropriate standards for delivery of quality medical and surgical care,” the AP reported.
As for Basco, the board concluded that he “had not provided ample evidence to show his practice does not put the public’s health and safety in danger,” according to Knezevich.
As NRL News Today reported previously, on May 4, an unlicensed employee at the Baltimore facility performed an ultrasound that revealed the woman was carrying more than one baby. The employee gave the woman misoprostol, after which Basco arrived and concluded she needed a surgical abortion because the multiple babies had made her uterus larger. According to online documents, “Basco told the patient she would have to go elsewhere for a surgical abortion.”
The abortion clinics were initially shut down in March. After being reopened, they were again shuttered in early May, following an investigation by the Office of Health Care Quality which had received an anonymous complaint about the Baltimore abortion clinic.
“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,” the Sun’s Andrea K. Walker reported last month. The other abortion clinics owned by OB/GYN Care were looked into and their licenses were pulled as well.
On February 13, Dominy, aborted 38-year-old Maria Santiago at the Baltimore clinic. After the abortion “the awake but ‘still very drowsy’ woman was left in the care of an unlicensed medical assistant, during which time she experienced cardiopulmonary arrest,” according to the Associated Press’s Ben Nuckols.
Dominy’s medical license was suspended not because of a woman’s death . “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. Her license was suspended because unlicensed employees at the clinic were dispensing Misoprostol, which was used to induce contractions.
A story in the Daily Mail filled in some of the details surrounding Ms. Santiago’s death. “Santiago’s death certificate showed she died from Severe Pulminary Edema, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and Hypoxia Brain Injury. It is unknown how long she went without breathing. Inspectors found staff failed to provide proper post-anesthesia care and observation.”
The Sun’s Knezevich reported that “Richard Bardos, an attorney for Panah and Associates in OB/GYN Care, said the practice of having staff administer the inducement drug regardless of whether patients had been evaluated by a doctor ‘was not the practice or policy of all of the clinics.’” Presumably this is why Panah’s suspension was vacated.
Basco could request a hearing before an administrative law judge, but that must be done by June 18.