Abortionist Who Didn’t Call 911 After Botched Abortion Loses License

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 3, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortionist Who Didn’t Call 911 After Botched Abortion Loses License

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 3, 2003

Katonah, NY (LifeNews.com) — A New York state medical review board has revoked the medical license of an abortion practitioner who botched a woman’s abortion and then failed to call paramedics after he learned the abortion perforated her uterus and she was bleeding profusely.

The Administrative Review Board for Professional Medical Conduct suspended Joel Novendstern’s medical license for six months and he is permanently limited to practicing medicine only in a hospital setting.

In December 2000, Novendstern performed an abortion on a woman who was 23 weeks pregnant. State records show he believed he perforated the woman’s uterus following the abortion.

The woman was taken to the recovery room of the facility where she complained of significant pain and a nurse said she was bleeding considerably.

A sonogram confirmed the perforation had occurred, which meant the woman would need to be transported to a local hospital for emergency surgery.

However, as has happened at abortion facilities before, Novendstern failed to call an ambulance — perhaps to avoid the publicity of one coming to his facility following a botched abortion.

Instead, the woman was driven by car to a Jacobi Medical Center, without any medical staff accompanying her. In addition, a nurse removed an IV providing her important fluids prior to leaving the facility. Medical experts say the IV line should have been maintained during transportation.

By the time the woman reached Jacobi, she was beginning to enter a state of shock.

State records obtained by the News Journal newspaper show "she had abdominal pain, she was pale and she quickly became lethargic and the pads were soaked with blood."

Doctors performed an emergency hysterectomy, without which the woman would have died.

Novendstern claims he was prevented from calling paramedics by the woman’s boyfriend, who wanted to drive her to Jacobi himself. But review board members didn’t find that argument credible and say he should have called for an ambulance anyway.

Lori Kehoe, director of New York Right to Life, told LifeNews.com the slap on the wrist is in insult to a woman who could have died thanks to Novendstern’s incompetence.

"If the ARB is concerned that the abortionist is a butcher whose messes may need immediate mending by qualified hospital personnel with hospital medical equipment," a much more severe punishment is needed, Hougens said.

Hougens said that, since Novendstern relied on a "bystander" for a decision medical transportation, being confined to a hospital makes it easy for qualified medical personnel to care for patients after subsequent botched procedures.

"It’s good to know the bystanders may have some sort of medical background," Hougens said.

Novendstern’s attorney Jeffrey Ruggiero said the decision would likely be appealed in civil courts.

"Dr. Novendstern had, prior to this case, an unblemished record," Ruggiero told the News Journal. "He has been providing medical services to the community for over two decades."

The state Health department previous suspended his license for only three months, but an appeal to the Review Board produced a six month revocation and the hospital limitation.

Novendstern was an OBGYN who performed abortions on the side. He most recently was admitted to practice at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, New York.