Practitioner Who Killed Woman in Botched Abortion Faces Trial This Week

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 13, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Practitioner Who Killed Woman in Botched Abortion Faces Trial This Week

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 13
, 2010

Hyannis, MA ( — The trial of abortion practitioner Rapin Osathanondh, who has been charged with manslaughter after killing one of his patients in a botched legal abortion, begins this week. Osathanondh did the abortion on 22-year-old Laura Smith, who died in September 2007 at his Women’s Health Center abortion business.

The trial was slated to begin today, but Laura’s mother, Eileen Smith, told the pro-life group Massachusetts Citizens for Life that the attorney for Osathanondh has been trying to get Smith and the district attorney to avoid trial.

“Instead of the trial starting on Monday, I have a meeting with the district attorney,” Smith explained. “The defense lawyers, district attorney and the judge are meeting. I think [Osathanondh’s] lawyer is going to present a plea deal to the judge — an offer so he doesn’t have to go thru trial and get a favorable outcome for himself.”

Smiths said she can present a statement but the decision is up to the judge, the defense attorney and Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, the prosecutor in the case.

Should the judge in the case not accept the plea deal, Smith indicates the trial will begin with jury selection on Tuesday and proceedings beginning later in the week.

“This man needs to go to jail for what he did to Laura,” Smith said.

Meanwhile, Smith has filed a civil lawsuit against Osathanondh and she says the abortion practitioner’s attorney asked if Smith would agree to a “house confinement” punishment.

“This man lives in a multi million dollar house in Wellesley on the water. You call that punishment? I call it vacation,” Smith said. “May we all be punished by being stuck on the water in luxury. There are so many people in jail who have done way less than this man. Pray for Justice.”

Osathanondh was indicted in July 2008 by a grand jury after an investigation by local police, state police and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.

Laura, who was adopted at the age of four from Honduras by her parents, was 13 weeks into the pregnancy when she had the abortion. Osathanondh reportedly sedated her and did not have another other staff members on site who had appropriate medical training to monitor Smith’s during the abortion.

Smith died shortly after the abortion, on September 13, 2007. Officials say Laura died from “cardiac pulmonary arrest during anesthesia during a voluntary termination of pregnancy” — known as an abortion.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine revoked Osathanondh’s license after investigating the abortion death and Osathanondh gave up his medical license permanently following the decision.

It said the abortion practitioner did not have any means of monitoring Smith’s vital signs properly, did not have oxygen or a functioning blood pressure cuff, and said he “failed to adhere to basic cardiac life support protocol” and did not call 911 in a timely fashion. He was also accused of misleading his own staff by telling them he had given Smith oxygen during the abortion when he had not.

Osathanondh’s lawyer, Paul Cirel, told ABC News this weekend that, while Smith’s death is a tragedy, the abortion practitioner treated her properly.

“It’s an unfortunate fact of medicine that rarely — but sometimes — patients die, even when they are being given the best of care,” Cirel said.

O’Keefe released information about the charges in 2008 and called Smith’s death a “terrible tragedy.”

He said that Osathanondh’s medical negligence and deficient actions led to her death.

“The evidence made out a case of willful, wanton and reckless conduct with respect to how this medical procedure was carried out,” O’Keefe said at the time.

David Angueira, who represents Smith’s parents in the civil lawsuit, said both cases are the family’s “quest for justice” for Smith.

“They firmly believe that this man is responsible for the death of their beautiful daughter and that he should be punished in accordance with the law for what he did,” Angueira told ABC News. “They want to make sure that the medical community gets a very clear message that when you engage in medical procedures, they must be done properly and safely for the benefit of patient safety.”

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