Anesthesia was frequently dispensed by employees who were neither legally permitted nor trained to do it, including a 15-year-old high school student who worked at the clinic, the report states.
Most employees did as they were told, but one objected:
Marcella Stanley Choung, who told us that her “training” for anesthesia consisted of a 15-minute description by Gosnell and reading a chart he had posted in a cabinet. She was so uncomfortable medicating patients, she said, that she “didn’t sleep at night.” She knew that if she made even a small error, “I can kill this lady, and I’m not jail material.” One night in 2002, when she found herself alone with 15 patients, she refused Gosnell’s directives to medicate them. She made an excuse, went to her car, and drove away, never to return. Choung immediately filed a complaint with the Department of State, but the department never acted on it.
It’s always the same story. people report it to the ‘trusted’ government and they expect them to do something about it but nothing is ever done.
How many lives could have been saved if they actually acted on this information? 10s? 100s? Who knows. All we do know is that they acted much too late and lives were lost as a result.
And this is the case with all of these government agencies. How many reports of faulty cars or ponzi schemes or bad medicine were discarded until the government finally did their job?
The Failure to Stop It
That brings us to a subject you’ve perhaps been wondering about: How on earth did this go on for so long without anyone stopping it? The grand jury delved into that very question in their report. I’m going to excerpt it at length, because it bears directly on the question that will concern us afterward: has this story gotten an appropriate amount of attention from the news media?
Here is the grand jury on oversight failures:Pennsylvania is not a third-world country. There were several oversight agencies
that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago. But none of them did…
The first line of defense was the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The department’s job is to audit hospitals and outpatient medical facilities, like Gosnell’s, to make sure that they follow the rules and provide safe care. The department had contact with the Women’s Medical Society dating back to 1979, when it first issued approval to open an abortion clinic. It did not conduct another site review until 1989, ten years later. Numerous violations were already apparent, but Gosnell got a pass when he promised to fix them. Site reviews in 1992 and 1993 also noted various violations, but again failed to ensure they were corrected.
But at least the department had been doing something up to that point, however ineffectual. After 1993, even that pro form a effort came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui, although there had been plenty. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all… The only exception to this live-and-let-die policy was supposed to be for complaints dumped directly on the department’s doorstep. Those, at least, would be investigated. Except that there were complaints about Gosnell, repeatedly. Several different attorneys, representing women injured by Gosnell, contacted the department. A doctor from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia hand-delivered a complaint, advising the department that numerous patients he had referred for abortions came back from Gosnell with the same venereal disease. The medical examiner of Delaware County informed the department that Gosnell had performed an illegal abortion on a 14-year-old girl carrying a 30-week-old baby. And the department received official notice that a woman named Karnamaya Mongar had died at Gosnell’s hands.
Yet not one of these alarm bells - not even Mrs. Mongar’s death - prompted the department to look at Gosnell or the Women’s Medical Society… But even this total abdication by the Department of Health might not have been fatal. Another agency with authority in the health field, the Pennsylvania Department of State, could have stopped Gosnell single-handedly.
The Department of State, through its Board of Medicine, licenses and oversees individual physicians… Almost a decade ago, a former employee of Gosnell presented the Board of Medicine with a complaint that laid out the whole scope of his operation: the unclean, unsterile conditions; the unlicensed workers; the unsupervised sedation; the underage abortion patients; even the over-prescribing of pain pills with high resale value on the street. The department assigned an investigator, whose investigation consisted primarily of an offsite interview with Gosnell. The investigator never inspected the facility, questioned other employees, or reviewed any records. Department attorneys chose to accept this incomplete investigation, and dismissed the complaint as unconfirmed.
Shortly thereafter the department received an even more disturbing report - about a woman, years before Karnamaya Mongar, who died of sepsis after Gosnell perforated her uterus. The woman was 22 years old. A civil suit against Gosnell was settled for almost a million dollars, and the insurance company forwarded the information to the department. That report should have been all the confirmation needed for the complaint from the former employee that was already in the department’s possession. Instead, the department attorneys dismissed this complaint too… The same thing happened at least twice more: the department received complaints about lawsuits against Gosnell, but dismissed them as meaningless…
Philadelphia health department employees regularly visited the Women’s Medical Society to retrieve blood samples for testing purposes, but never noticed, or more likely never bothered to report, that anything was amiss. Another employee inspected the clinic in response to a complaint that dead fetuses were being stored in paper bags in the employees’ lunch refrigerator. The inspection confirmed numerous violations… But no follow-up was ever done… A health department representative also came to the clinic as part of a citywide vaccination program. She promptly discovered that Gosnell was scamming the program; she was the only employee, city or state, who actually tried to do something about the appalling things she saw there. By asking questions and poking around, she was able to file detailed reports identifying many of the most egregious elements of Gosnell’s practice. It should have been enough to stop him. But instead her reports went into a black hole, weeks before Karnamaya Mongar walked into the Woman’s Medical Society.
…And it wasn’t just government agencies that did nothing. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and its subsidiary, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, are in the same neighborhood as Gosnell’s office. State law requires hospitals to report complications from abortions. A decade ago, a Gosnell patient died at HUP after a botched abortion, and the hospital apparently filed the necessary report. But the victims kept coming in. At least three other Gosnell patients were brought to Penn facilities for emergency surgery; emergency room personnel said they have treated many others as well. And at least one additional woman was hospitalized there after Gosnell had begun a flagrantly illegal abortion of a 29-week-old fetus. Yet, other than the one initial report, Penn could find not a single case in which it complied with its legal duty to alert authorities to the danger. Not even when a second woman turned up virtually dead…
So too with the National Abortion Federation.
NAF is an association of abortion providers that upholds the strict est health and legal standards for its members. Gosnell, bizarrely, applied for admission shortly after Karnamaya Mongar’s death. Despite his various efforts to fool her, the evaluator from NAF readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused. It was the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected. Of course, she rejected Gosnell’s application. She just never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.
The conclusion drawn at the end of the section is provocative. “Bureaucratic inertia is not exactly news. We understand that,” it states. “But we think this was something more. We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.”
Just finished the Gosnell story…
I am disgusted of humanity. Not only was this man a deranged baby killer, so was his entire staff.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about… http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/04/why-dr-kermit-gosnells-trial-should-be-a-front-page-story/274944/
I’m pro-choice on all the issues. Yes, including abortions.
“Abortion is safe.”
What lies are they going to make up next?
Fetuses have a right to life.
abortion is safer than child birth. or at least that’s what i hear on the streets
It’s safe because there’s no prohibition on it.
I’m down with Pro Choice, but let’s not lie to ourselves, every “successful” abortion results in the death of a person.
Mitt Romney, at Wednesday’s CNN debate in Arizona.
Hey, you know what prevents unwanted pregnancy? This.
Love the insinuation that poverty IS child abuse. And the racism. That throwaway remark is quite possibly one of the worst things to come out of last night’s debate.
I could say more, but Elon James White said it much better than I ever could:
I salute you, sir.
Yep, the most racist Mitt comment from last night’s debate. The worst.
Birth control I have zero issues with (condoms, birth control pills and even plan B). I think you’d have to be an idiot to oppose those (or the Pope) so I won’t even touch up on those here. As for abortions, I’m not a big fan of abortion.
In fact, I can probably claim that I’m Pro Life. But that doesn’t mean I’m not Pro Choice, which I’ll explain later.
I 100% understand the statistics and facts behind it. Abortions prevent unwanted children which in turn lowers the poverty rates, crime rates and other daunting statistics in society.
But why can’t we work from both sides?
Why can’t we allow these services to continue (it doesn’t HAVE to be gov’t funded, there’s clearly a lot of public support and private funding for it) while at the same time educate the youth on the adverse effects of having children in broken homes or at a young age? We don’t have to be black or white about it because we don’t live in a black or white world. There are options and choices and an infinite number of ways to approach a situation and solve it. Let’s exercise that ability.
One thing I want to say about having such easy access to the abortion option is that many people become reliant on it and I totally understand that side of the argument. But there is a compromise. We can satisfy both extremes without eliminating one of them.
Perhaps Chris Rock’s (great example, I know) idea about guns and bullets can be applied here. He once said that if bullets cost thousands of dollars each than people would be less willing to just shoot up a club or use the bullet for violence. And yet, at the same time, you wouldn’t have to outlaw guns and take away peoples ability and access to them.
Maybe the same mentality can be applied to abortions and then both sides can shut the hell up.
This is the one reason I like Ron Paul’s stance on abortions. He’s personally Pro Life. He’s against them as he values human life and spent decades delivering babies as an OBGYN. He thinks what we need to do is help the people correct their morality. Not to create laws or regulations to force people one way or the other.
But at the same time, he doesn’t think that his morality or stance should be forced on to you. He doesn’t think the federal gov’t should regulate such a topic. And this is where many people misunderstand him. They think that his motion to repeal Roe vs Wade is the same as outlawing abortions.
He actually wants to give the people the choice and that’s exactly what the constitution does, or was supposed to do. This should be a law that is decided on the state and/or local level. If people in California want to kill unborn children, that’s their choice. They should be able to vote for it through their own state level legislature. And if it passes and there are those that don’t like the law, they can simply move to a state where it is outlawed.
That is or was the beauty of this country. A federal gov’t is only supposed to imposes the laws that are written in the Constitution and that’s it. Everything else is to be decided on a state level that way these small differences in ideals and morality don’t become epic battles that might ultimately determine who runs this country.
See, you can be Pro Life yet Pro Choice at the same time. I guess you can just call me Pro Liberties.