Yesterday, an Ohio Department of Health hearing examiner ruled that Capital Care Network of Toledo be closed because it lacks a valid, legally required transfer agreement with a “local” hospital, as required by state law.
When the abortion clinic was unable to secure a transfer agreement with any Toledo hospital, CCN, the last abortion clinic in Toledo, entered into a transfer agreement with an out-of-state hospital at the University of Michigan. Because the hospital is located 52 miles away from CCN, the hearing examiner found that it does not meet the “local” requirement.
“We applaud the hearing examiner’s decision for putting women’s health and patient safety ahead of politics,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “We are reassured that Capital Care Network is not being given special permission to sidestep Ohio law and put women’s lives at risk.”
According to Ohio Right to Life, Capital Care Network previously held a transfer agreement with the taxpayer-funded University of Toledo Medical Center. When Ohio Right to Life requested that the taxpayer-funded institution respect the conscience rights of taxpayers and end the agreement, the university chose to do so. After UTMC ended its contract last summer, Capital Care Network proceeded to operate illegally for nearly six months without a transfer agreement.
“No reasonable person would permit an out-of-state hospital to contract with an Ohio abortion clinic to provide emergency backup services,” said Gonidakis. “It’s absurd that an abortion clinic would even make such a request. Sadly, it appears that the clinic will put profits ahead of patient safety and attempt to delay and stall through litigation.”
Last month, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office stood by its opinion that Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic is not complying with a state law requiring its abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges with a local hospital to admit women injured by botched abortions. If a judge agrees with the state, Toledo may soon be abortion free as the state of Ohio has closed down the second of two abortion facilities that have closed up shop last year.
According to Ohio law, Capital Care exists as an Ambulatory Surgical Facility and because of this status, the clinic is not a full-service medical facility. In order for Capital Care Network of Toledo to operate legally, the clinic has to have a transfer agreement with a full-service hospital to handle all cases of abortion complications against the mother.
To read the hearing examiner’s decision, click here.
Why are laws requiring abortion practitioners to hold admitting privileges necessary? Consider Angela’s story.
Angela was twenty weeks pregnant when she walked into a dingy abortion clinic in Santa Ana, California, on August 7, 2004. Her abortion was completed in five minutes with little or no pain relief by an 84-year old abortionist, Phillip Rand, who rotated his time between several clinics throughout Southern California.
When he was done with Angela’s abortion, he got in his car and began the three-hour drive on congested California freeways to another abortion clinic in Chula Vista, near the Mexican border, where he had more patients waiting. But when Angela started bleeding heavily, the two medical aids, who were the only ones left in the clinic, didn’t know what to do. One called Rand and asked him to return to the clinic to help the hemorrhaging women, but Rand refused. He was already an hour or so away and didn’t want to go back and risk losing business in Chula Vista. He told them to call 911 if she got any worse.
Angela did get worse – much worse. By the time paramedics arrived, it was too late. They found her in a pool of her own blood. There was no oxygen or no crash cart at the clinic, but it is doubtful that the two minimally-trained aids would have know how to operate them if they had been available. Angela was transported to a local hospital where she later died.
One paramedic was so incensed by how he found Angela that he reported Rand to his supervisor who, in turn, notified the Medical Board. A signed declaration from the paramedic noted, “This was the worst post-partum patient situation at a medical clinic I have ever encountered during my time as a paramedic.” Twenty months later Rand surrendered his medical license.
For Angela, there was no continuity of care. Rand held no hospital privileges. This allowed him to operate well below the standard of care at the cost of one woman’s life.