Saturday, May 25, 2013

Health department finds deficiencies at 75% of Maryland's surgical abortion clinics

After the death of Jennifer Morbelli, the state of Maryland investigated Maryland's 16 surgical abortion clinics and found problems at 12 of them (including numerous problems at LeRoy Carhart's clinic in Germantown).  It has also suspended the licenses of 3-4 of the 12 with deficiencies as they threatened the lives of women. (The Baltimore Sun article says 3 while the WaPo article says 4.)

From the Sun:
State health officials have suspended surgical abortion procedures at three clinics, including one in Baltimore where a patient suffered cardiac arrest and later died at a hospital.

The physician who performed the abortion at Associates in OB/GYN Care LLC on North Calvert Street wasn't certified in CPR< and a defibrillator at the facility did not work, state officials said in a letter Friday to the General Assembly.

Although the cardiac arrest was caused by underlying health conditions and not the abortion, investigators found that it raised questions whether doctors at the clinic can handle an abortion that goes wrong.

The other two clinics that lost surgical privileges, located in Landover and Silver Spring, also are owned by Associates in OB/GYN Care and also had licenses suspended for issues related to the ability to respond to life-threatening problems during surgery.

The Silver Spring clinic is a NAF certified abortion clinic. UPDATE: Correction - This isn't a NAF certified clinic - the NAF web site says "American Women's Care" but there doesn't appear to be a clinic named that in Silver Springs.  The Associates in OB/GYN Care clinic in Silver Springs is part of Stephen Brigham's American Women's Services group of clinics but that clinic has a different number than the number listed by the NAF.  It appears the NAF clinic is actually called Silver Spring Family Planning. 

Here's a tidbit from the Post article:
Investigators later determined that it was standard, unwritten protocol at all four clinics to give misoprostol to all patients who were at least 11 weeks pregnant, even if the patient had not been evaluated by a doctor and even if no physician was present......

In a statement, Associates in OB/GYN Care said it was disappointed with the suspension. ”We think it’s unfair,” said Bridget Wilson, communications outreach coordinator. She said the suspension was based on actions of a single independent contractor physician and not part of the facilities’ overall procedures. “When we learned of the issue, we forbade the office staff from following this physician’s request,” she said.

Will the pro-choice crowd blame all these deficiencies on Maryland's prolife laws?  That might be somewhat difficult as NARAL gives Maryland an "A."

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