Maryland's Gosnells? WashPost Put Woman's Death, 'Life-Threatening Deficiencies' On a Low News Rung

On the top of The Washington Post’s front page Saturday was a story by Lena Sun on Maryland “seeks to expand [ahem, price] control of hospitals.” At the bottom of the front page of Metro Saturday was another Lena Sun story: “Md. abortion clinic lapses unrelated to patient death.”

Sun omitted the name of the 29-year-old dead woman (Jennifer Morbelli), but politely allowed the state of Maryland to clear late-term abortionist Dr. Leroy Carhart of committing any “deficiencies” in her fatal right to choose. No "war on women" is present in Maryland, unlike Virginia's allegedly vicious desire to have women look at an ultrasound before "choice" occurs:

Maryland health officials investigating the case of a woman who died in February after an abortion late in pregnancy at a Germantown clinic found “no deficiencies” in her care at the clinic, according to results released Friday.

The 29-year-old woman died after an abortion performed by LeRoy Carhart, one of a handful of doctors nationwide who publicly acknowledge performing late-term procedures. Carhart has been the focus of protests by antiabortion groups, especially after the murder conviction of Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell this month.

Near the end of the story, Sun became slightly more specific about what Martin O'Malley's Maryland state health department did find deficient:

In the case of the Germantown clinic, the health department began an investigation shortly after the woman’s death Feb. 7. Officials interviewed clinic staff, reviewed medical records and the clinic’s policies and procedures, and consulted with the state medical examiner’s office.

In a letter Friday to state legislative leaders, health department officials said they “identified no deficiencies with respect to this complaint.”

But the department did find numerous deficiencies at Germantown Reproductive Health Services during its broader inspection of all surgical abortion clinics.

The most common deficiencies found in Germantown and the 11 other clinics involved lapses in providing information about the professional credentials of clinic physicians, maintaining a sanitary environment at all times and providing a discharge diagnosis in the medical record. Health officials said all of the physicians had the educational and certification requirements to perform surgical abortions. There was no evidence that the other deficiencies resulted in harm to patients.

At the Germantown clinic, nurses were not properly trained to give sedation medication. The clinic’s medical director was not properly credentialed. One nurse’s license had expired the year before.

Inspectors also found that the clinic failed to develop and put in place policies and procedures for emergencies if patients had to be transferred to a hospital. They also found that staff were filling syringes multiple times from vials of medicine intended for one-time use, and that staff failed to pre-clean dirty surgical instruments using an enzymatic cleaner (instead of bleach, water and dish soap) before sterilization.

Now if you’ve ever wondered just how carefully the Post editors might compose or edit a story to bury the scary stuff inside the paper, try this story, which cites another series of Maryland abortion clinics as a definite risk to women’s health:

A broader survey by the Maryland health department into all 16 of the state’s surgical abortion facilities, however, did find that the Germantown clinic was among 12 clinics that had a range of deficiencies. None of the problems presented an immediate and serious threat to the safety and health of patients, the deparment found.

But state health officials found [CONTINUE TO PAGE B4]

life-threatening deficiencies at another provider, Associates in OB/GYN Care, which operates surgical abortion clinics in Silver Spring, Cheverly, Frederick and Baltimore. The health department suspended the provider’s license to operate three of its four clinics in March and reinstated them about three weeks later after the facilities fixed the problems, which related to preparing for and responding to emergencies, including the cardiac arrest of one patient.

This month, health department officials suspended the licenses of all four clinics after they found additional “serious deficiencies in the medical oversight of patient care.” An unlicensed technician at the Baltimore clinic had given an abortion-inducing medication, misoprostol, to a woman without a doctor present and before any doctor or licensed health-care professional had any contact with her, in violation of state regulations, investigators found. When a doctor arrived, the doctor declined to complete a surgical abortion because the “facility is not equipped to do this procedure safely.”

The woman was 13 to 14 weeks pregnant with triplets, the clinic’s operator said.

The woman eventually went to another of the operator’s clinics, where a surgical abortion was completed with no complications, health officials said.

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.

I wonder if an abortionist calls an abortion of triplets a "hat trick."

 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis