Medical Board Admits Bad Oversight of Doc Who Killed Woman in Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 3, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Medical Board Admits Bad Oversight of Doc Who Killed Woman in Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 3
, 2010

Los Angeles, CA ( — The California Medical Board has admitted it made a mistake when it put a doctors with discipline problems in charge of overseeing an abortion practitioner who then killed a woman in a botched abortion procedure. The board admitted it violated its own rules.

The admission came in relation to their naming Christopher Dotson, a West Los Angeles-based obstetrician-gynecologist who had been placed on administrative probation, to oversee Andrew Rutland.

Rutland surrendered his license in October 2002 after a two-year state investigation that resulted in accusations of negligence, misconduct and incompetence in his treatment of 20 pregnant women, newborns and gynecological patients

He then faced a hearing earlier this month in front of the California Medical Board at a hearing in San Diego after documents showed Rutland killed a woman during an abortion by administering anesthesia to her and not knowing the proper dosage.

Candis Cohen, the medical board spokeswoman, admitted to the Los Angeles Times that the board violated its own rules requiring doctors who oversee others to have clean disciplinary records.

"This is a staff error that has been fixed," she said.

The Times indicates Dotson had his own run-in with abortion problems.

In 2007, Dotson and another physician, Josepha Seletz, of Eve Surgical Center, agreed to pay a $1 million settlement when they wrongly gave the mifepristone abortion drug to Oriane Shevin, a mother of two. She was not supposed to get the abortion drug and eventually died when she acquire a fatal infection.

The patient in the case where Rutland killed her despite Dotson’s oversight, Ying Chen, visited Rutland’s San Gabriel facility last July for a second-trimester abortion.

Rutland injected lidocaine, a local anesthetic, in her cervix and the woman began to have an immediate reaction. The abortion practitioner began to perform CPR but the board documents say there was a "significant delay" in him calling 911 for emergency medical help for the woman.

The woman was in cardiac arrest when the ambulance arrived and was taken to a hospital, where she died six days later. An autopsy revealed Rutland gave the woman the wrong dosage of the anesthesia.

The case is pending and the medical board asked Rutland to stop doing abortions until its conclusion.

The Times indicates records show Dotson wrote favorably of Rutland even after the failed abortion killed the woman.

In an Oct. 9 report to the state, the Times says Dotson wrote, "Dr. Rutland and I discussed at length the tragic death of a patient by the name of Ying Chen who after the injection of a local anesthetic preparatory for a pregnancy termination suffered an anaphylactic reaction. In spite of appropriate resuscitation efforts, she succumbed in the hospital."

But in a written decision, Administrative Law Judge James Ahler said Rutland’s doing the second-trimester abortion in a facility inadequately equipped for emergencies "casts doubt on his professional judgment," according to the Times.

Judge Ahler said Rutland "presents a risk of danger and there is a likelihood of injury to the public" if he continues practicing medicine and he disagreed with Rutland’s contention that he was not actually performing an abortion at the time.

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