Friday, May 06, 2005

Raunchy Bunchamoney

In the merry, merry month of May, let's look back on a May, 1979 inspection of Ronachai Banchongmanie's RELSCO abortion clinic:

  • no lavatory or handwashing sinks in exam rooms
  • sinks in patient care areas not able to be shut off without using hands
  • no tracheotomy set available
  • no transfer agreement with hospital
  • no job descriptions for nursing staff
  • employee files lacking resumes of training and experience
  • urinalysis not performed prior to surgery
  • no written infection control measures
  • scrub sink area "in need of a thorough cleaning"
  • no system for patients to summon attendant
  • drugs not stored safely
  • excessive temperature in area where oxygen and nitrous oxide tanks were stored
  • 24-hour waiting period for abortions not adhered to

    It was this and other nastiness that won Banchongmanie the nicknames "Raunchy Bunchamoney" and "Raunchy Botchamany" at Life Dynamics.

    Ah, but this was just May of 1979! Surely he cleaned up his act after that! Yeah, and pigs fly. You can read summaries of 1980 - 1983 inspections here. He got slapped on the wrist and continued to operate through 1984. More of the same in 1985. By 1987 the state of Kentucky finally wised up and tried to shut him down, only to have him successfully argue that he wasn't operating a clinic; he was just doing surgery in his office. He accumulated malpractice suits as woman accumulated injuries. And still the mill ground on. His facility was still disgusting through 1990. He was still being deposed in malpractice suits through the early to mid-1990s. It was during these depositions that Banchongmanie admitted to having been a member of the National Abortion Federation during the 1970s. He said he quit; I certainly can't see NAF having thrown him out.

    And surely organizations that promote safe and legal abortion kept their distance from Dr. B! Forsooth! In 2001, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky instead put their money, resources, and reputation behind Banchongmanie in a federal lawsuit to block the state from enforcing a new law that requires women to obtain state-mandated information and then wait at least 24 hours before receiving an abortion. (Why Banchongmanie would go to all the trouble to file a suit remains a mystery; he didn't exactly have a history of rigid obedience to other laws and regulations.) The ACLU indicates that there are only three doctors "providing" abortions in Kentucky.

    Life Dynamics lists only three abortion facilities in Kentucky:

    EMW Women's Clinic - 859-278-0331
    161 Burt Rd., Lexington, KY 40503

    Pregnancy Options- Dr. Sheikh - 859-278-0214
    1725 Harrodsburg Rd. # H2, Lexington, KY 40504

    EMW Women's Surgical Center - 502-589-2124
    138 W Market St., Louisville, KY 40202

    Both EMW facilities are current NAF members. The Kentucky medical board lists this information for Banchongmanie:
    Ronachai Banchongmanie M.D.
    Address: 5341 Mitscher Ave.
    Louisville KY 40214
    Phone : (502) 589-4030

    So either he's operating freelance and Life Dynamics has no information on where, or he works at one of those three facilities -- two of which are NAF members.

    I'd like to challenge the prochoice folks out there to see where he's practicing, and if women are being steered to him with assurances of "safety."
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