Voodoo Made Me Do ItThe recent arrest of Dr. Narash Patel for selling abortions to women who weren't actually pregnant isn't an isolated incident. Similar frauds, as uncovered by the Chicago Sun-Times, have been found across the country. But the oddest case by far must be a husband and wife team of New York abortionists.
When called before the medical board in 1986, Dr. Judith Comeau-Samuel admitted to practices endangering the health of patients at her abortion clinics, but claimed that she had only done so because she was dominated by her husband and manipulated by him via voodoo.
The report indicated that Comeau-Samuel and her husband would charge $75 for a pregnancy test. They would then tell the patient she was pregnant, then offer to apply the $75 pregnancy test fee toward the cost of an abortion. Authorities estimated that 25% of the abortions performed at Comeau-Samuel's facilities were done on non-pregnant women. The number of victims in 1985 was estimated at 2,400.
The whole scheme got exposed after a woman who had undergone a sterilization procedure was told that she was pregnant at one of the Comeau-Samuel facilities. The husband-and-wife team were arrested after a sting by two non-pregnant policewomen.
What was particularly alarming, in addition to the unnecessary emotional distress and risks of the procedures themselves, is that these "abortions" were done under general anesthesia in a substandard facility, placing these women at severe risk of debilitating or even lethal anesthesia complications.
Medical board documents indicate that the Medical Board, Commissioner of Health, Regents Review Committee, and Board of Regents all found Comeau-Samuel guilty of:
- 65 counts of "practicing the profession with gross negligence"
- 29 counts of "Permitting, aiding, or abetting an unlicensed person to perform activities requiring a license"
- 90 counts of "Practicing the profession fraudulently"
- 65 counts of "Practicing the profession with gross incompetence"
- 139 counts of "Unprofessional conduct"
- performing abortions on non-pregnant women
- failure to take medical history or perform examinations
- administering general anesthesia without ascertaining if patients had eaten
- administering general anesthesia without proper resuscitative equipment
- failing to monitor vital signs during general anesthesia
- failure to provide post-anesthesia evaluations
- failure to give adequate aftercare instructions
- failure to obtain informed consent
- failure to supervise recovery
- failure to test for Rh factor hence jeopardizing health and lives of future babies of Rh-negative patients
- allowing her husband Maxen Samuel to practice without a license
- falsely advertising that medical services would be performed by board-certified specialist when they were performed by non-certified Comeau-Samuel and non-licensed Maxen Samuel
- having pregnancy tests performed by untrained individual if they were performed at all
Samuel's attorney said that Samuel admitted to operating without a license, but insisted that he had to do so because he needed the money. The judge reviewing the case ordered the couple to surrender their passports to prevent flight to their native Haiti.
For more on the Voodoo Abortionists, see: