Practitioner Charged With Murder in Botched Abortion Death

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 19, 2011   |   12:10PM   |   Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania-based abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who is responsible for killing a woman in a botched legal abortion last November, has been charged with murder.

Gosnell was the focus of FBI raids last year and his medical license was suspended and his abortion facility, Women’s Medical Society Clinic, was closed down. Authorities found filthy and deplorable conditions along with a collection of aborted babies dating back 30 years.

Now, District Attorney Seth Williams is expected to detail charges today that he will file against Gosnell, the 69-year-old abortion center owner who killed Karnamay Mongar in a failed abortion. Gosnell was arrested and charged with eight counts or murder in the deaths of Mongar and seven infants allegedly killed with scissors after their birth. The arrest came affecter a grand jury investigation.

Massive amounts of drugs found in the victim’s system led authorities to suspect Gosnell was illegally prescribing pain-killers. He temporarily lost his medical license in both Pennsylvania and neighboring Delaware. Pennsylvania officials suspect Mongar died from the botched abortion in part because she had been treated by unlicensed personnel.

The State Board of Medicine says Gosnell had the unlicensed staff member give vaginal exams and administer the drugs Demerol, Promethazine and Diazepam. He was eventually fined $1,000 for the violations.

Williams said Gosnell made approximately $1.8 million in one year alone performing the abortions.

Records from 1995 show Gosnell was publicly reprimanded by the State Licensing Board which found he ”employed a physician’s assistant that was not certified … saw at least one patient and treated him.”

Gosnell’s attorney, William J. Brennan, dismissed the charges.

“It’s important that Dr. Gosnell enjoys the presumption of innocence, as do all defendants charged,” Brennan said, according to ABC News. “The grand jury presentation is lengthy, and Dr. Gosnell should be given the opportunity to review these documents accordingly.”

“The man has been in practice for 40 years,” Brennan added. “If a complaint was made in the last year, what about the other 39?”

Meanwhile, two attorneys filed a wrongful death and survival suit against Gosnell on behalf of he husband and children of Karna Mongar

The complaint alleges that Gosnell failed to provide proper care before, during and after the abortion, employed unlicensed personnel and lacked essential equipment to resuscitate Mongar. The case, filed by the Anapol Schwartz law firm in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, seeks recovery for her death and punitive damages.

In a statement obtained, attorney Bernard W. Smalley said “Gosnell put profits above the safety of his patients.”

“He refused to pay for licensed qualified medical personnel, allowing non-trained individuals to perform critical medical duties. He was not even present at the time medications and anesthesia were administered. He was, by all descriptions, running an office better characterized as a horror show. We are committed to making certain that justice is served for the Mongar family,” Smalley said.

A political refugee from the country of Bhutan, Mongar went to Gosnell on Nov. 19, 2009 for the abortion and, prior to it, was given numerous doses of pain and sedation drugs by an individual who was not a licensed medical practitioner.

She experienced severe cramping and asked for additional pain medication. The unlicensed assistant contacted Gosnell, who instructed her to administer more doses. Near the end of the procedure, Mongar began losing color and had no pulse. Philadelphia Fire Rescue Emergency personnel were called and she was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where she was later pronounced dead.

Forced from their home in Bhutan, Mongar, her husband and three children lived in a hut in a refugee camp in Nepal for 18 years. She lost one child in the refugee camp from poor living conditions. In June 2009, the family was given the opportunity by the United States government to relocate to this country United States to begin new lives.

“Five months after coming to this country, Karna’s life was cut short as a result of the horrendous actions of Dr. Gosnell,” said Smalley.

He added:  “This was a death that should never have occurred. It is deplorable that a woman who spent the past 18 years of her life as a political refugee would finally gain the promise of the freedom this country has to offer, only to die at the hands of a man who was supposed to care for her. Dr. Gosnell must be held accountable so no other families have to suffer from the actions of a doctor who failed to uphold the most basic tenets of his oath.”

Last March, the Pennsylvania Department of Health found the abortion center had violated more than a dozen health and safety laws ranging from a lack of equipment and drugs for emergency resuscitation to not having a way to get patients to a hospital or a backup physician. The Philadelphia Inquirer indicated at the time that Gosnell also delayed the report to the state concerning the woman who died in the failed abortion. He had until April 12 to respond to the charges but has failed to do so, and missed an extension taking him to April 30.

In the raid, officials found what amounted to a “house of horrors” — including collection jars containing the remains of pre-born babies dating back 30 years along with filthy and unsafe conditions and evidence that unlicensed workers had been illegally treating patients. The office has no access for a stretcher in the case of an emergency. In previous emergencies, care was delayed because exit doors were padlocked shut or blocked with debris from the clinic.

A deficiency report noted that the only source of suction for patients with airway tubes was the same suction machine used for abortions. Filthy and unsanitary conditions were also cited.

Gosnell has a long history of dangerous abortion practices.

He was responsible for the death of Semika Shirelle Shaw in 2000, who died from a perforated uterus sustained during an abortion. Gosnell has been sued over 40 times for numerous botched abortions and other troubles.

“The story of Gosnell’s appalling abortion operation makes us wonder how many other abortionists like him are out there preying on vulnerable women,” Operation Rescue president Troy Newman told “From our own investigations into the abortion industry, we have yet to find an abortionist who is in full compliance with the law.”

“Because the abortion business draws practitioners from the bottom of the barrel, abortion presents a serious danger to women in this country. If the laws currently on the books were enforced, most abortion clinics in this country would be forced to close. The Gosnell story is a case in point,” he said.

When Gosnell lost his Delaware license, he also agreed to stop distributing controlled substances and he waived his right to a board hearing normally scheduled for within 60 days.

“Based upon the severity of the violations alleged in the complaint, and based upon the suspension of Dr. Gosnell’s license in the state of Pennsylvania, we have concluded that the suspension of Dr. Gosnell’s license to practice medicine in Delaware is necessary to protect the public until we can fully hear the matter,” Raymond L. Moore Sr., the president of the Board of Medical Practice, said according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Gosnell told a local television station last year  “I haven’t seen a negative comment that a patient has been dissatisfied with the services that I have provided.”

But former patient Dayna Haynes, who suffered a botched, incomplete abortion and had to wait hours for proper medical care, had something else to say about that on camera.

“I really felt like he was just going to let me die,” she said.

After a report showed Gosnell a stack of 40 lawsuits against him over the years, he responded: “If you’re not making mistakes, you are not really attempting to do something.”