Abortion Clinic Left Women in Recovery Without Medical Supervision, Didn’t Have RN or OB-GYN on Staff

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 12, 2017   |   4:31PM   |   Harrisburg, PA

Pennsylvania health inspectors found a long list of health and safety violations this spring at an abortion facility in Harrisburg, including failures to have a certified RN and OB-GYN on staff.

The state Department of Health published the inspection report for Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center in Harrisburg on its website recently. The report details dozens of violations, any of which could endanger women’s health and safety.

The inspectors found failures involving trained medical staff, documentation of anesthesia information, employee background checks and other issues. They also found expired medicine/medical supplies dated as far back as 2004.

Among the most egregious findings were that dozens of patients were left without a registered nurse’s supervision, according to the report.

Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 21, “the facility has done 55 procedures and has not had an RN to assist the doctor and to assess the condition of the patient before and following the procedure,” according to the report.

The abortion clinic told inspectors that it hired a new RN to begin work April 26, meaning that for three months there was no RN on staff to supervise patients.

Abortion facilities in Pennsylvania also are required to have a board-certified OB-GYN on staff or as a consultant, but Hillcrest did not. According to the report, inspectors made two separate requests in February for physicians’ credentials, but the abortion facility never provided them.

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Other problems include:

  • Failures to document the anesthesia given to at least seven surgical abortion patients, including the name, dose and route of administration. A state inspector’s interview with an employee confirmed that “it was not the physician’s practice to document” the anesthesia information.
  • Failures to obtain background checks for eight employees, as required by law.
  • No training for staff on identifying and reporting suspected patient abuse.
  • Outdated and deteriorated medication/supplies, including syringes and needles wrapped in paper that was “physically deteriorated and yellow with age,” chlamydia/gonorrhea swabs that expired in 2004, Tylenol that expired in April 2016, sodium chloride that expired in March 2016 and curettes that expired on various dates between February 2015 and November 2016.
  • Medication that was left in unsecured locations accessible to patients and unauthorized staff.

Undefeated Courage, a group of pro-life sidewalk advocates who reach out to women at Hillcrest, told LifeNews that they were not surprised by the findings.

In June 2016, they witnessed an ambulance arrive and take a woman to the hospital. Later, emergency services documents indicate the woman was suffering from a serious vaginal hemorrhage. There are no known updates about the woman’s condition.

The sidewalk counseling group described abortionist Delhi Thweatt and his staff as “cold and callous” toward women and their unborn babies. The pro-lifers said they have watched women leaving in severe pain and abortion clinic staff walking past them without offering to help.

On Good Friday this year, the group learned of another alarming concern. A woman told them she left Hillcrest with a complete set of abortion drugs and instructions to take them later in her pregnancy because she was too early along that day.

This is not the normal medical protocol for abortion drugs. Typically, abortion clinics administer the first of two abortion drugs at the facility after checking to make sure the woman does not have an ectopic pregnancy or other health problems; then she is given the second drug to take at home the next day.

According to Undefeated Courage, the woman changed her mind and chose life for her unborn child. They said the woman walked back into Hillcrest to request a refund; but the staff allegedly took the abortion drugs from her and refused to give her the refund.

Until recently, Pennsylvania did not inspect abortion facilities regularly. The horrific findings inside Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion facility changed that. In 2011, the state began conducting unannounced inspections annually.

That year, inspectors also found problems at the Harrisburg abortion facility, including expired medical equipment and concerns about patient confidentiality.

“It was noted that names of patients that were having procedures that day were displayed on the wall in the hallway where they could be observed by other patients,” inspectors wrote in 2011.