Sunday, February 04, 2007

New (to me) article on Midtown Hospital

"Complete Disregard" - criminal incompetence in the abortion industry.I have added links.
It would be comforting to dismiss the dozens of clinics operated by these doctors as rogue "chop shops." But consider Atlanta's Midtown Hospital, the largest abortion clinic in Georgia. It is a member of the National Abortion Federation, gets Planned Parenthood referrals, and is advertised on the attractive Abortion Clinics Online website.

This is a theme I've been beating into the ground myself. The very first legal abortion death I ever learned about -- that of Gloria Aponte -- was in a NAF facility, a facility where an untrained receptionist was permitted to administer general anesthesia.

On May 22, 1998, Midtown Hospital was temporarily closed by a Superior Court judge pending the outcome of litigation to shut it down permanently. Repeated on-site investigations had shown the hospital's "complete disregard for, or the inability to care for, the health and safety of its patients." The Georgia Department of Human Resources had known of these conditions and nonetheless let the hospital stay in operation for the last two years. But the story still isn't well known; the only news coverage has been a short account of the clinic's closing in the local-news section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The article in question is available here.

The Department of Human Services described Midtown as "overcrowded, understaffed and dirty". But that's nothing new. I have an entire collection of articles documenting the nastiness at Midtown.

The National Review article includes an excerpt from an affidavit from a certified surgical technician who worked at Midtown for about six weeks before resigning. "Employee B" testified:
On April 18, 1998, at approximately 7:00 a.m., I witnessed a patient deliver an intact fetus in the toilet of a bathroom in the waiting room area. After expelling the baby and the afterbirth, the patient walked to the operating room because there were no wheelchairs. I opened the fetal sac so that the fetus could be weighed. The weight was approximately 3029 grams [over 6 pounds, 10 ounces]. It was a very big fetus. My impression is that at Midtown Hospital a procedure will be done at any gestational age as long as the patient has the money.

This is nothing new. Midtown was investigated and placed on restrictions in 1993. Late abortions were done, ostensibly for fetal indications, but no verification was made of the diagnosis, and the fetuses in question sometimes turned out, on examination after the abortions, to have been normal.

The National Review article also includes an excerpt from the affidavit of "Patient Y":
When I left the counselor with a group of about six women to change clothes, I heard someone hollering "someone help me, Oh God, someone please help." As the nurse opened the door, I saw a woman on the floor with urine all over the floor. That patient's daughter heard her mother hollering and started banging on the door and shouting. Everyone in the waiting area appeared alarmed. Women started leaving. . . . I heard [another] woman shouting in pain. I saw her go to the bathroom because her water broke. She was hollering and she delivered in the bathroom. A nurse came and put the fetus in some kind of urine pan and carried it with the girl out of the area. This became a common thing, girls screaming, water breaking, and then delivering. There was no monitoring by staff. . . . There were times when there was blood and urine all over the place. . . . There were so many patients that staff had to step over them. The patient that delivered in front of me was on the floor with her head near one of the doors. She was screaming and asking God to help her.

Another 1998 article on conditions at Midtown is available here. More excerpts of affidavits are available here.

Midtown is the hospital where 15-year-old Sara Niebel underwent her fatal abortion in 1994.

Midtown Hospital disappeared from Abortion Clinics Online in 1999, which seems to indicate that it stayed closed. But here's where everything takes a twist. Interestingly enough, the woman who launched Abortion Clinics Online had worked at Midtown Hospital:
A charming, witty and extremely knowledgeable feminist, Ms. Rose has worked with clinics over three decades, beginning with Midtown Hospital, the nation's first hospital specializing in late abortion services and women's health. Ms. Rose was instrumental in helping open Midtown and served at various times as Clinic Director, Counseling Director, Admission Supervisor and Community Relations between 1977 and 1989.

It was during Ms. Rose's tenure that Midtown went through the first late abortion scandal, the one that Midtown was able to recover from. Interestingly, in the interview, Ms. Rose repeats again and again that abortion workers should be "proud" of what they do.

Looking at Midtown, I wonder what her priorities are, if she thinks those people should be proud of stepping over patients who are lying on a filthy floor, expelling their fetuses unattended. And lest you say, "Ah, but she no doubt didn't know," consider what she says here:
I have come up with some standards that a clinic must fulfill for me to do a Home Page or link them to my site. To date, I have refused a few clinics. I do check out my clinics.

I'd like to know what the places were like that she refused, if Midtown made the grade.

Here's an interesting little exchange between Ms. Rose and the interviewer:
Q: We know that there are some clinics that aren't up to the standards the pro-choice community would like. How do you think the pro-choice community should deal with this?

A: That's a really tough issue. I would like to see a national entity like the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Hospitals that would oversee the nation's clinics. It shouldn't be a government organization but a private group and the clinics would have to pay for its services. The board would be made up of people everyone could respect. There are some national clinic organizations, like NAF and NCAP, but they don't have a staff that is just devoted to clinic inspection.

First point: She's saying that NAF does NOT have a staff that is devoted to clinic inspection. But NAF claims that they inspect their member clinics:
Member clinics have agreed to comply with our standards for quality and care, updated annually in our Clinical Policy Guidelines, which set the evidence-based standards for abortion care in North America. NAF periodically conducts site visits to confirm that our clinics are in compliance with our guidelines (Emphasis mine).

Who is telling the truth here?

Second point: If there are places Ms. Rose has visited that are worse than Midtown, so bad that she refused their ads, did she do diddly-squat to protect women? Did she report them to the authorities? She doesn't even have a caveat on her site warning women to check out the facility before making an appointment, other than the tepid "As with all medical services, you should check with your local health care agencies to ensure that you are dealing with reputable licensed physicians and that services meet local medical standards. We assume no responsibility. It is however your responsibility to be a good medical consumer and ask questions." Not a word about how to investigate. No links to medical board web sites or state inspection authority web sites.

I'm gonna email Ms. Rose with a suggestion that she might want to do this. Any bets as to whether or not she'll add the links?

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