Practitioner Who Killed Woman in Botched Abortion Faces Lawsuit, Indictment

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Practitioner Who Killed Woman in Botched Abortion Faces Lawsuit, Indictment Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 21
, 2008

Hyannis, MA ( — The Massachusetts abortion practitioner who killed a woman last year in a botched legal abortion is facing a lawsuit from her mother and a possible indictment from officials. Rapin Osathanondh gave up his medical license permanently last month and now he faces more repercussions from the failed abortion.

Osathanondh did the abortion on 22-year-old Laura Smith, who died in September at his Women’s Health Center abortion business.

Eileen Smith, Laura’s mother, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Osathanondh in Barnstable Superior Court on March 10.

Her attorney David Angueira told the Cape Cod Times that Smith is not seeking a specific monetary amount but is asking a jury to award punitive damages for gross negligence in the death of her daughter.

"This is not your standard medical malpractice case," Angueira said in court yesterday, according to the newspaper. "This doctor did something really wrong."

During the initial hearing in front of Judge Robert Rufo, Angueira said the abortion practitioner failed to properly monitor Laura following the abortion while she was still under the effects of anesthesia.

Osathanondh also allegedly failed to monitor Smith’s vital signs.

The newspaper said defense attorney Kenneth Kohlberg claimed the lawsuit was without merit, that Smith’s death was an accident and that Osathanondh did nothing wrong.

During the hearing, Judge Rufo prevented Osathanondh from selling any real estate he owns in order to avoid paying out in the wrongful death case if he is found guilty and required to compensate Smith.

He also ordered the medical equipment at Osathanondh’s office not be tampered with so it can be examined.

Smith had previously filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine and the abortion practitioner surrendered his medical license.

Following that action, Smith told, "After his license was suspended he came back to the medical board with his lawyer and voluntarily resigned his license forever."

"He is never to practice in this state or in any other state with no appeal," she added.

Meanwhile, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe told the newspaper he will definitely pursue an indictment against Osathanondh when a grand jury convenes next month.

The pro-life group Operation Rescue, which has also been following the case, told that calls to the Women’s Health Center abortion facility indicate it is no longer accepting appointments for abortions and is referring women to other abortion businesses.

"While nothing can bring back Laura and her baby, we take great comfort in knowing that Osathanondh will never again hurt another woman or kill another innocent child," spokeswoman Cheryl Sullenger said.

Smith had sought an abortion from Osathanondh on September 13, 2007. She was placed under full anesthesia when only Osathanondh and a non-medical receptionist were present.

When Smith suddenly stopped breathing, the receptionist phoned 911 but gave very little information to the dispatcher. Smith died later that day.

Officials say Smith died from "cardiac pulmonary arrest during anesthesia during a voluntary termination of pregnancy" — an evaluation Eileen Smith has been trying to get officials to understand.

As first reported, a pro-life group obtained records from emergency services in Massachusetts that reveal the callousness abortion business staff had towards Laura’s situation.

Transcripts of a 911 call reveal what one pro-life group calls a "cold-hearted dispassion."