Complaint Says Ohio Abortion Practitioner Endangering Women

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 13, 2012   |   12:06PM   |   Colum

A complaint has been filed with the State Medical Board of Ohio against late-term abortion practitioner Martin Haskell alleging violations of the standards of patient care after an abortion patient was hospitalized last month. The complaint asks the state board to conduct a thorough review and take whatever steps are necessary to protect the public.

As LifeNews reported in March, a woman was rushed to a local hospital in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville, Ohio after appearing to have suffered from a botched abortion at the facility Haskell runs.

A recording of the 911 call placed personally by Haskell on March 28, 2012, revealed a woman was unconscious and suffering seizures that could not be controlled while coming out of anesthesia after an abortion. The woman was transported to Bethesda Hospital, where Haskell has no admitting privileges nor does he have an agreement for a physician to care for his abortion complications.

The Ohio Department of Health was notified and immediately sent out a team of surveyors who, according to witnesses, were denied access to Haskell’s clinic until he was prepared to allow them in, according to information the pro-life group Operation Rescue presented LifeNews.

The pro-life group says this is the second known incident of a failed abortion suffered by a Haskell patient involving uncontrolled seizures. On March 12, 2009, a woman suffered nearly identical complications at his Kettering clinic located near Dayton, Ohio, and was transported unconscious to Miami Valley Hospital.

In that case, a desk clerk is heard making the calls on behalf of the mother of a patient who was in labor. The mother told the clerk that her daughter was in the process of a “miscarriage.” After the clerk called for an ambulance, she placed a second call about 3 minutes later. The clerk told the dispatcher, “Apparently the baby has fallen into the toilet and the umbilical cord – um, uh – the baby’s dead.”

Operation Rescue has also documented two additional incidents of abortion complications at Haskell’s abortion clinics, one as recent as last February when an ambulance was called for an unconscious woman who was not breathing on her own after an abortion.

“These disturbing calls show a pattern of botched abortions and complications at Haskell’s abortion clinics that raise serious concerns that women’s lives are being placed at unnecessary risk,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, who filed the complaint. “The medical board needs to take a hard look at what is going on behind the closed doors of Haskell’s clinics before one of his patients end up in the morgue, if that has not already been the case.”

Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, commented previously on the botched abortion.

“The Women’s Medical Center is one of several abortion facilities owned by abortionist Martin Haskell, who has championed the gruesome late-term partial birth abortion procedure,” she said. “The WMC remains open despite the fact that Haskell could not comply with a regulation requiring an Ambulatory Surgical Facility (ASF) to have a transfer agreement with an area hospital to handle complications from his procedures.”

Much to the chagrin of pro-life advocates and local Sharonville officials, the Ohio health department has updated an arrangement that allows Haskell to continue doing abortions without following state law requiring him to have a transfer agreement at a local hospital.

In 1996, Ohio passed a law requiring that all ambulatory surgical centers must be licensed by the state and, in 1999, it came to the attention of the Ohio Health Department that abortion clinics were not in compliance with the law, having never applied for licensing. The OHD began the process of insuring that all abortion clinics came into compliance.

Haskell refused to comply and, after years of court and administrative battles, the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland granted a variance [exception] allowing  the late-term abortion practitioner to open a new abortion facility in Sharonville, Ohio, the Women’s Med Center at 11250 Lebanon Road. The state gave him this variance on the condition that he maintains privileges at an area hospital, a lesser standard than a transfer agreement.

Haskell’s variance has been modified and Ted Wymyslo, the health department director, says Haskell is no longer required to have privileges at an area hospital or a transfer agreement.  He is allowed to operate by having his partner, Roslyn Kade, and two other Cincinnati doctors, David Schwartz and Walter J. Bowers, handle his emergency complications.

That decision is meeting with strong condemnation from Virgil Lovitt, the mayor of Sharonville and president of the Sharonville Board of Health.

“Now, Martin Haskell can continue to perform abortions without meeting these requirements, and he can replace his skills with other doctors that, also, do not need to meet the written state regulations,” he said. “Any abortionists working at the Women’s Med Center are now covered by the credentials of Dr. Haskell’s partner, Roslyn Kade, and two doctors off-site.  This has expanded the variance to beyond the career of this 71-year old abortionist.  Martin Haskell can finally retire and his late term abortion center will legally be able to operate indefinitely.”

Lovitt says the concerns are not merely hypothetical as the abortion clinic has already experienced botched abortions just one year after opening.

“Haskell’s two-day process for late term abortions has already produced one stillborn baby in a hotel toilet and another in a car on the way to an ER,” he said. “These complications are difficult to track, and there are probably more than we know. There are pro-life sidewalk educators outside the abortion facility, and it is estimated that this location is performing about 200 abortions each month.”

In August, Lovitt joined Mike Gonidakis of Ohio Right to Life, Paula Westwood of Cincinnati Right to Life, and Colleen Gerke of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in a meeting with Wymyslo about Haskell where Lovitt says he “begged the new director not to liberalize the variance if Martin Haskell’s privileges at an area hospital changed.”

Westwood also complained about the health department’s decision, saying, “This expanded variance for the Women’s Med Center needlessly caters to the abortion industry at the cost of many unborn babies’ lives.”

She is calling on pro-life advocates to contact the following officials “to ask why the state of Ohio is helping the abortion industry.”