Sunday, May 21, 2006

More on the closing of Summit

For more on the closing of Summit, see:
  • Suspended Abortion Center Gave RU 486 to Woman With Late-Term Pregnancy -
    This coverage says that "the woman was in a tenuous medical condition" and that Summit staff gave her the abortion drugs "to try to hide [their] actions."

    Regarding the closure, state health officer Dr. Donald Wilson said, "That's not something we do very often. The incident involved multiple and serious violations of the rules. There was no other means to address it except an emergency suspension." said that they obtained a copy of the suspension order, which said that the woman had a "critical and dangerously high" blood pressure of 182/129. Instead of instructing the woman to seek care for this problem, clinic staff dispensed abortion drugs.

    Summit's license was been suspended for 90 days, and a hearing was scheduled to determine if the license would be revoked.

    Dr. Wilson added, "This is the first time I've ever ordered an emergency suspension for an abortion clinic." says that Summit Medical Centers operates seven abortion facilities in five states, including one in Montgomery, Alabama, which employed Malachy Dehenre, who lost his medical license in both Alabama and Mississippi because of botched abortions.

  • Abortion Business Has License Suspended in Botched Abortion Drug Case -
    This covereage indicates that the baby the woman delivered was "macerated", which means it had died in-utero and had begun to decompose. The article quotes the health department document: "Though Patient A was not seen by a physician at Summit, the facility's records inaccurately reflect that a physician, who was not present at the facility on that date, performed the ultrasound and provided the medical abortion."

  • Clinic's closing renews debate -
    This article indicates that the woman whose care led to the closing of the clinic arrived at the emergency room with the head of her dead baby protruding.

    This article also tells of the experience of Jennifer Vickery, age 26. When Jennifer learned of the woman who had delivered the dead baby, "I was scared for my life. I was at a loss for words. It was crazy."

    At the time, Jennifer was running a fever after complications of a surgical abortion she'd undergone at Summit on May 4. She had a follow-up appointment scheduled. Should she keep it? But the clinic was shut down.

    Jennifer said that she'd been rushed into the abortion. An ultrasound had been performed, and she was told she was 8 weeks pregnant. "They rushed me back so quick and started giving me medication, and I didn't have time to think about it. I didn't feel like I had time to think about nothing. When I got there, they had me start filling out papers. They said, `We want you to do it today, because we have a doctor here.'"

    The article said that three other women, identifying themselves as Summit patients, contacted the paper saying that they'd had complications after recent abortions. One said that she'd undergone an abortion on May 11, and was there the day the clinic was closed, seeking care for extreme pain and a fever of 103. She drove instead to Beacon Women's Center in Montgomery Alabama, and was rushed into surgery. (State officials allowed Summit to remain open long enough to refer patients elsewhere, which is good for those who needed follow-up but tragic for those still thinking they needed abortions.)

    The News said that they contacted a woman at Beacon, an administrator who would only identify herself as "Pat", who said she was "in shock" over the closing of the affiliated clinic.

    This article also said that Dr. Williamson, the state health officer, said the health department puts more resources into inspecting nursing homes than abortion clinics. "Would we like to do it more frequently? Absolutely," he said. "But the nursing homes get more inspection because those are federally funded surveys. We have to figure out how to do the clinic inspections with state dollars."

    The article also notes that two other Birmingham facilities had been inspected. New Woman All Women Health Care had been cited in 2004 for allowing non-licensed staff to do counseling, and for failing to meet administrative requiremets. Summit had been cited in 2005 because Dr. Deborah Levich, the medical director, didn't have a controlled-substance permit. Both facilities, the article said, corrected these deficiencies.

    Interesting point. The article said, "The National Abortion Federation, a trade association that represents Summit and other clinics, referred all requests for comment to Summit and its attorney." So - is Summit affiliated with NAF? Is NAF trying to distance itself? Whatup with that?

    ADDITION: The Associated Press is covering the story as well. Alabama women's clinic probed for late-term abortions, violations
    This article indicates that actions were also taken against the clinic's doctor, Deborah Lyn Levich, and nurse Janet F. Onthank King who apparently administered the abortion drugs to the woman who was 8 months pregnant. The disciplinary action appears to only cover the two of them working together. The Alabama Attorney General is also going to launch an investigation.

    The AP report also noted that the nurse practitioner gave RU-486 to three other patients without the doctor being present, and without having the ultrasounds reviewed by a doctor. Five women had second trimester abortions without the doctor noting any attempts to determine fetal viability. One of the women was 19 weeks pregnant, and another was 21 weeks pregnant. Dr. Levich signed medical records for procedures done when she wasn't present.
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