by Steven Ertelt
June 15, 2006
Birmingham, AL (LifeNews.com) — An abortion business that has come under fire for a non-doctor giving a woman with a late-term pregnancy the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug and falsified its records of what happened has surrendered its medical license. The woman, who had a severely high blood pressure and needed medical attention, later gave birth to a stillborn baby.
Summit Medical Center in Birmingham has been closed since May 17 when the Alabama Department of Health suspended its license.
With Summit relinquishing its medical license, the abortion facility will be closed permanently. That’s good news to Jim Pinto, founder of Sanctity of Life Ministries, a local pro-life group, who says the abortion practitioner and nurse who gave the woman the abortion drug should have their licenses revoked.
Those who "oversaw this malpractice and murder of this full term human being should be further investigated and have their licenses to practice medicine revoked immediately by the Board of Medical Licensure," he said.
Only a doctor is supposed to dispense the dangerous abortion drug and the mifepristone pills are only intended to be used in the early stages of a pregnancy. The woman went to an emergency room six days later and gave birth to a 6-pound, 4-ounce stillborn baby.
The state medical board has also temporarily prohibited abortion practitioner Deborah Lyn Levich and Summit Medical Center nurse Janet F. Onthank King from practicing medicine.
Levich and King have been prohibited from working with each other again after Levich allowed King to dispense the abortion drug, as only licensed physicians are allowed to do that.
Levich routinely traveled from her home in Marietta, Georgia, to do abortions at the Birmingham facility but was not present when King gave the woman the abortion drug. Summit was later found to have falsified its records by saying King was present and falsely stating an ultrasound was performed on the woman before she took the abortion pill.
State officials said they found "egregious lapses in care, including non-physicians performing abortions, severely underestimating the gestational age of a fetus, failure to appropriately refer or treat a patient with a dangerously elevated blood pressure, and performing an abortion on a late-term pregnancy."
Meanwhile, Attorney General Troy King and the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners are investigating the abortion facility, which could face criminal charges in the case.
"That’s not something we do very often," Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, told the Birmingham News of revoking the abortion center’s license. "The incident involved multiple and serious violations of the rules. There was no other means to address it except an emergency suspension."
"She was almost certainly in the third trimester and near term," Williamson told the News about the woman. "What’s clear here is that it wasn’t used appropriately," he said of the abortion drug.
According to the suspension order LifeNews.com obtained, the woman had a "critical and dangerously high" blood pressure reading of 182/129.
"That in and of itself would have demanded immediate medical attention," Williamson said. Instead, the staff went ahead with the abortion.
A hearing on the charges Levich faces is set for July 18.
Summit Medical Centers operates seven abortion businesses in five states and has another abortion center in Montgomery, Alabama.
It is the abortion business that employed Malachy Dehenre, who lost his medical license in both Alabama and Mississippi because of botched abortions.