By Dave Andrusko
Kermit Gosnell, abortionist. Three words that invoke horror, disgust, and outrage. Yet when the latest of his assistants who worked at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic was sentenced yesterday, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner made a hugely important remark: “As evil as Kermit Gosnell is, as charismatic as he may have been . . . he could not have accomplished all he accomplished alone.” Lerner added. “He needed the help of other people.”
A sobbing Sherry West, 54 was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison for her role in the drug overdose death of a Bhutanese refugee and mother of three. She’d pled guilty to third-degree murder and other charges, “admitting that on Nov. 19, 2009, she administered some of the Demerol overdose that killed Karnamaya Mongar, 41, during an abortion at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic,” reported the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joseph A. Slobodzian.
“West also admitted that after accompanying the comatose Mongar and her family to a hospital emergency room, she lied about what happened and destroyed or altered Mongar’s medical records.”
For readers of NRL News Today, West is probably best remembered for her horrific testimony at Gosnell’s murder trial. (See “Sherry West testifies in Gosnell murder trial she heard one baby ‘screaming’ after child aborted but delivered alive.”)
West told prosecutors that four years before she’d been asked to help out with a problem. Questioned by Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore, West explained (according to Slobodzian):
“There was this clear glass pan and I saw it and I thought, ‘What do you expect me to do?’”
“It wasn’t fully developed,” West told the Common Pleas Court jury, referring to the 18- to 24-inch long newborn in the pan. It didn’t have eyes or a mouth but it was like screeching, making this noise. It was weird, it sounded like a little alien.”
Asked what happened to the baby (whom West testified she called the “specimen” because “it was easier to deal with mentally”), West said she didn’t know. The child was one of the largest babies she had seen delivered during abortion procedures.
But what reporters who did cover the story emphasized repeatedly is that West was typical of the poorly-educated women Gosnell hired, women with lengthy histories of drug and serious emotional problems whom Gosnell paid sparsely and under the table.
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Slobodzian’s story reminded his readers of something we wrote about as well.
“After pleading guilty and agreeing to testify against Gosnell, West did an about-face. Under questioning by defense lawyer Jack McMahon at trial last April, West said she did not want to plead guilty and did not believe she did anything wrong.”
Indeed by yesterday, West insisted that during her 18 months at Gosnell’s “House of Horrors,” she “treated patients like family” and “didn’t mean to do anything wrong.” Judge Lerner told West she was in denial. “I think at some point you’ll come to be more honest in terms of what your role was here,” he said. “And I think that you’re not there yet.”
Gosnell is serving three consecutive life sentences plus 2-1/2 to 5 years for the murders of three babies he aborted alive and then slit their necks and for involuntary manslaughter in Mrs. Mongar’s death.
All nine Gosnell workers charged in connection with the operation of his Women’s Medical Society Clinic pleaded guilty and two await sentencing, according to Slobodzian.