Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Mystery of NAF and Steven Chase Brigham

This article is excellent, condensing a long and warped career into a reasonable chunk for public digestion. Brigham has always been trouble But he's going down now, it seems. Much the same way Al Capone did. For cheating on his taxes:

During Brigham's travails, his enterprise has continually evolved. Over the years, he has created at least 20 corporate entities - some with names such as Peaceful Corp., Goodness Inc., and Kindness Corp. - and added clinics in Virginia and Maryland.

The IRS now has a big claim against all of it.

"We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid," say April IRS notices demanding $234,536 for unpaid payroll taxes. "Therefore, there is a lien in favor of the United States on all property and rights to property belonging to this taxpayer for the amount of these taxes, and additional penalties, interest, and costs that may accrue."

Who is this guy, anyway?

Steven Chase Brigham, a physician whose medical license has been revoked, relinquished, or temporarily suspended in five states, is now facing regulatory and tax troubles that could jeopardize his chain of 15 abortion clinics.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health this month ordered Brigham to permanently shut his four clinics in the state for repeatedly employing unlicensed caregivers.

The article quickly summarizes Brigham's history:

Pennsylvania was the first setback. In a confidential 1992 settlement, Brigham agreed to permanently give up his license amid an investigation of his practice in Wyomissing.

Despite this restriction, Brigham continued to own and expand his abortion business in the state.

In 1994, New York took his license, finding him guilty of "gross negligence" and "inexcusably bad judgment" involving two late-pregnancy abortions. The patients suffered life-threatening bleeding and required emergency hospital operations, public records show. ....

New Jersey suspended Brigham's license in 1993, citing the same botched abortions as New York, plus other charges. After three years of defending himself against an action by the state Attorney General's Office, Brigham won full reinstatement of his medical privileges.

What the article doesn't mention is that Michael Burnhill, then Vice President for Medical Affairs of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and a high-profile moderator of Risk Management Seminars with the National Abortion Federation, was a key witness and ally for Brigham in regaining his New Jersey license. A license he lost because the New York medical board said, in very thinly veiled language, that Brigham is a freaking psychopath.

[Brigham's corporation], American Women's Services does about 3,600 abortions a year in Pennsylvania, state records show. It has clinics in Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, and State College. Until last month its website also listed 11 locations in Philadelphia, Bristol Borough, King of Prussia, and Willow Grove where patients could rendezvous for "free transportation" to a clinic.

Because it's cheaper for Brigham to bus them in and scrape them out himself than to hire a local quack to do it for him in Pennsylvania.

Now here comes the deep and abiding mystery:

Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, said this week, "We applaud Pennsylvania's decision."

WTF? The guy is a former member. Their boy Mikey helped him to regain his New Jersey license. AFTER the blatant quackery that nearly killed his patients. There have been NO allegations of such quackery since then. So why did NAF do a 180 on Steve?

All of this stuff -- New York yanking his license for being a clueless quack, Brigham willingly surrendering his Pennsylvania license to halt a medical board investigation -- NAF welcomed him with open arms, and a high NAF spokesman defended him before the medical board.

But now?

The most recent violation cited in the July 7 order occurred in 2008, when a woman who was not a nurse worked as one in the Pittsburgh clinic, according to Health Department charges.

Big, fat, hairy deal for NAF. Hanan Rotem had his receptionist administering general anesthesia. He was still a NAF member.

In 1997, Brigham employed an obstetrician-gynecologist who was under suspension for, among other things, sexually molesting patients.

Abu Hayat, "The Butcher of Avenue A", best known for ripping the arm off an unborn baby who was shortly thereafter born alive, molested his own patients. He was a NAF member. A NAF member clinic in Kentucky hired a man as a security guard who then used the clinic as a rape site. Lovejoy Surgicenter had a child pornographer on staff.

[Saporta's] trade association, which has 400 abortion providers that meet its clinical standards, has long criticized the quality of care at Brigham's clinics.

1. As if they care that much about quality care, given the quacks they still harbor. What in the world could Brigham be doing that's any worse than what other NAF members have been caught doing?

2. NAF took Brigham in AFTER the most egregious of his quackery became public. Something else quietly happened to darken him in their eyes. The mystery is, what?

There are a couple of points I'd like to raise:

1. The guy was originally recruited and trained by Planned Parenthood.

2. Michael Burnhill of the National Abortion Federation AND PPFA testified on Brigham's behalf to help him get his New Jersey license reinstated.

3. Given points 1 and 2, why is the National Abortion Federation applauding the action rather than doing their usual cry of unfair treatment of abortion providers? Brigham is a former member. Why not a current member?

There's either something darker underneath that they're not telling us, or they have some weird criteria for who they defend and who they throw to the wolves. Why did they change their minds about him along the way? NAF doesn't behave this way. They have a legal defense team that goes to bat to "beat the shit out of" (their attorney's phrase) any woman who dares to sue a member for malpractice, in order to intimidate her into dropping her lawsuit. Why are they willing to tolerate -- to even defend -- malpractice among their ranks, but they shun Brigham?

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