Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Gosnell: The Untold Story - The Rest of Chapter One

My quarantine reading is the audiobook of Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer, by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer. At the bottom of this post are links to commentaries I've written so far.

Unqualified Staff Administering Anesthesia

What caught Detective Jim Wood's eye about Karnamya Mongar's death was the unqualified staff administering anesthesia. Gosnell might be the worst in that he had people with only an 8th-grade education administering anesthesia drugs. Gosnell wasn't the first to let untrained staff do this job.

Laura Hope Smith
Rapin Osathanondh had nobody on staff -- including the "hand-holder" who assisted with anesthesia -- who knew how to resusciate patients. This cost Laura Hope Smith her life in 2007.

When Joe Bills Reynolds' wife died in 1989 during liposuction surgery at his combination abortion/weight loss clinic, medics found Joe Zorger administering anesthesia. Zorger told two investigators that he'd been hired as a maintenance man but testified in Reynold's murder trail that he's actually been a self-trained weight-loss hypnotist. (Reynolds' clinic is where Gaylene Golden underwent her fatal abortion.) 

When Hanan Rotem performed the fatal abortion on Gloria Aponte in 1986, investigators found that he's had his receptionist, who had no medical training, administering anesthesia.

A Fortunate Shortcoming?

One of the reasons we're urged to get rid of expired drugs is that they might lose efficacy and potency. Though much was made of the expired medications in Gosnell's clinic, this might have been a blessing, allowing the meds to degrade and do less damage. I'd love to see any research into how much those drugs degrade over time.

Animals in the Clinic

Gosnell had his turtles and his cats. In the late 1970s, Joseph Rucker had his dog trotting around the clinic, going in and out of the procedure room, lapping the women's blood up off the floor.

Angry Patients

A nurse who went along on the raid noted that even with the filthy conditions, patients were angry that the raid was interfering with getting their abortions done. Gosnell's attorney even used the fact that the patients were willing to tolerate the filth as evidence that Gosnell was a good doctor. I think it's more a matter of who the patients were. I remember reading about the mindset of women going in for abortions, that they get into a sort of "Let's just get this over with" tunnel vision. They've worked up the momentem to go through with something they didn't want to do in the first place but they feel trapped into doing. They feel like terrible people for doing it. They don't feel like they deserve better. They're too numb to care. I would love to interview Gosnell's patients to see what they thought of the filth and the poor treatment they got. 

Eating During Abortions

Gosnell's staff said that he'd eat during abortions. The staff of Dr. Robert Sherman, who performed a fatal abortion on Rita McDowell in 1975, said that he would "operate with one hand and eat a tuna fish sandwich with the other, and talk to his stock broker on the phone."

Down the Toilet

Gosnell's toilets would get backed up with fetal remains. Toilets remain a popular method of fetus disposal.

In 1989, abortionist Curtis Stover was considering the purchase of Mayfair Women's Center in Aurora, Colorado. He was taken on a tour by the owner, James Parks (John Roe 472 in Lime 5) and was so disgusted by what he saw that he reported it to the medical board in an affidavit. Parks would finish his day by grinding up the 15 - 22 week fetuses in an old-fashioned hand-cranked meat grinder so that he could flush the remains down the sink. He did this, he told Stover, because fetuses that big would stop up the toilet, and he couldn't put them in the trash because the prolifers would fish them out. One must presume that the fetuses younger than 15 weeks did indeed go down the toilet. (Several years later, Mayfair was where Christi Stile would suffer the catastrophic brain damage that eventually took her life.)

Douglas Karpen, the "Texas Gosnell" who perpetrated the fatal abortion on Denise Montoya, must have been flushing fetuses down the toilet. We know that because they backed up out of the sewer and into the lot of the car dealership next door.

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