By Dave Andrusko
Naresh Patel, an abortionist with a long history of legal and administrative troubles, agreed Monday not to practice medicine in Oklahoma, pending an investigation by the state Medical Licensure Board into allegations Patel provided chemical abortifacients to three undercover investigators who were not actually pregnant.
In a response emailed to The Oklahoman, Aaron Cooper, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said, “This is an appropriate step that will help ensure the health and safety of patients as the board conducts a review.”
According to reporter Graham Lee Brewer, “Cooper said while their office is pleased Patel no longer holds a state medical license, they will continue to monitor any actions taken against him by the state medical board as his criminal case proceeds.” Brewer added
Two weeks after Patel’s arrest, Attorney General Scott Pruitt was critical of the board for not taking immediate action against the doctor. Pruitt’s comments came one day after the board’s deputy director, Reji Varghese, said their laws and rules did not support the use of an emergency hearing to address Patel’s medical license.
This is the latest in a series of developments that pose increasing penalties for the 62-year-old Patel. Initially, he was arrested December 9 at his Warr Acres clinic and charged with fraud for telling three undercover investigators they were pregnant, giving them all abortifacients, and charging each $620.
“Patel faces only three years in jail at most and $15,000 in fines if convicted of all three counts of obtaining money by false pretenses,” according to Nolan Clay and Robby Trammell of The Oklahoman.
However, last week, the owner of the Outpatient Services for Women was charged with racketeering—“a felony offense punishable by at least 10 years in prison,” Clay and Trammell reported
But why was Patel charged with racketeering? According to The Oklahoman
Assistant Attorney General Megan Tilly said the racketeering count is merited this time “based on the egregious nature of the allegations and Dr. Patel’s use of his medical practice as a criminal enterprise to defraud vulnerable women.”
So why was Patel investigated for fraudulently prescribing abortion-inducing drugs to women who were not pregnant? As Clay and Trammell explained
The complaint that led to the investigation came from a sister of a former patient who paid $520 for a medical abortion procedure in August 2011. The former patient, Pamela Michelle King, died four months later of complications from cervical cancer. The doctor who cared for her at the time of her death reported she had not been pregnant within the past year.
As noted above, Patel has consistently been in hot water but to date has somehow avoided scalding.
In a separate story, written earlier by Clay, we learned that since moving to Oklahoma in 1984, Patel has been sued in civil court about two dozen times.
Clay also wrote about former employee Kim Hauser who alleges that Patel
repeatedly asked her for sexual favors and forced her to do grisly tasks, “such as bagging fetuses and body parts,” because she refused him.
She also alleges he offered her $100,000 in early 2013 to go overseas and “marry” an Arab prince for three months.
That lawsuit is pending in Oklahoma City federal court.
A 1989 lawsuit charging Patel with sexual harassment was thrown out in 1990, Clay writes, “on legal grounds.” Likewise in 1993, “a patient accused him of sexually assaulting her after sedating her for an abortion,” Clay writes. Patel denied the allegation and was acquitted in 1994.
Patel escaped censure in 1992 after admitted burning the bodies of aborted babies. According to Clay, Patel said
he had run out of storage space after a hospital stopped letting him use an incinerator. His action attracted national attention at the time. The state medical licensure board considered disciplining him for unprofessional conduct but did not.
Patel told the board he and his office manager took the fetuses to an abandoned recreational vehicle park he owned near Shawnee and he set fire to them on a gravel road.
The fire only partially burned the fetuses, and two fishermen later came across them.