MUSKEGON, MI, February 19, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The former owner of the unlicensed Muskegon abortion clinic shut down by authorities late last year for its unsanitary conditions has gone into hiding. Now, the Michigan Board of Medicine is facing hard questions from state legislators after a local news channel uncovered evidence that the board chairman used his position to shelter the abortionist from an investigation into a botched abortion in 2009 despite having an alleged conflict of interest.
State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, a former member of the Board of Medicine who sits on the state Senate Health Policy Committee, is demanding a hearing to investigate why Dr. George Shade was permitted to make a ruling clearing the abortionist of any wrongdoing, considering his past close relationship with the accused, Dr. Robert Alexander.
Their relationship stretched back nearly 20 years, when Alexander lost his medical license in 1990 and served time behind bars in federal prison for selling illegal prescriptions. It was Shade who helped him get his license back upon his release, writing a letter on his behalf that the disgraced doctor used as “Exhibit A-1” in his licensing board hearing. Shade then took the ex-convict under his wing, serving as Alexander’s supervisor and mentor at a “training program” at Detroit Riverview Hospital.
When asked by Target 8 about the potential conflict of interest inherent to his close relationship to Alexander, Shade said, “It's a very detailed process to investigate, and that process was followed.” Shade added, “This conversation is over” before hanging up the phone.
In 2009, Dr. Michael Engel filed a complaint against abortionist Robert Alexander on behalf of patient Sheria McCloud, stating that he botched her abortion.
When McCloud went to Alexander’s clinic seeking an abortion, she was told she was about 10 weeks pregnant. He performed an ultrasound and an abortion. “When I left, I thought that the process was done, because when I came home, I was bleeding,” McCloud told local station Target 8.
But a month later, she felt pain and movement inside her stomach and went to the emergency room. There, an ultrasound revealed she was 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby boy. Her son, Jeremiah, is now three years old.
In his complaint, Engel wrote, “[McCloud] informed me that Dr. Alexander did do an ultrasound and then, ‘stuck something up inside her and moved it around, removing something.’” When Engel called Alexander to ask for clarification, the abortionist told him he performed a “limited ultrasound,” because it was hard to do the ultrasound properly, “due to the patient being obese.”
Wrote Engel, “He stated he saw a gestational sac and removed that.”
But Engel expressed skepticism. “What he sucked out, who knows,” he told Target 8. “He could have punctured her placenta. This was an outrageous thing he did.”
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Engel says he treated ten of Alexander’s former patients for bleeding or infections due to botched abortions over a six-year period.
In his complaint, Engel said that after Alexander tore a hole in one patient’s womb during an abortion, the patient was “unable to walk for a month due to the pain.”
Engel says that woman is lucky to be alive. “She could have bled to death,” he said.
Despite the severity of Engel’s accusations against Dr. Alexander and the preponderance of evidence, more than 10 months passed without a single word from the Board of Medicine. Then, in May 2010, Dr. George Shade, then-chairman of the state Board of Medicine finally sent Engel a letter. His decision: “No investigation needed.”
That was the end of Engel’s complaint against Alexander, who continued operating a mold-riddled, blood-spattered abortion facility until the City of Muskegon shut it down as a threat to public health.
If Shade indeed followed procedure in dismissing the case against Alexander, Sheria McCloud thinks the process is flawed. “He shouldn't have been investigating my case if he was [Alexander’s] mentor,” said McCloud. “It should have been somebody else investigating. Why would you investigate my case and you are his mentor?
Both Engel and McCloud said no one from the state Board of Medicine ever contacted them to follow up or ask questions about their complaint.
A proper investigation, Engel said, “would entail talking to [Alexander], going to his place of business, talking to me, talking to the patient, doing basic due diligence, which they didn't do.”
Instead, the state sent him a letter in May 2010 informing him that Dr. Shade had determined there was “insufficient basis to authorize investigation of your allegation.”
In a one-page response addressing the complaint, Shade wrote: “Appropriate evaluation of the patient was performed. She was outside the legal limit for voluntary termination of pregnancy and was informed of such by the licensee [Alexander]. Patient was refunded her payment. No breach of standard of care, no fraud, no unethical practice.”
But McCloud, now parenting the young child she originally paid to have aborted, said she never received a refund for the botched procedure. She also said she was unaware that the case had been dismissed until Target 8 asked her about it.
“To this day, I thought the case was still open,” McCloud said. “Nobody ever sent me no letter or nothing.”
“That's what she says,” retorted Shade. He says the state would certainly have notified the patient. “I know the process,” he said. “I was on the Board of Medicine for eight years.”
Sen. Schuitmaker said Shade’s involvement in the case was a “clear conflict of interest” and “should never have occurred.”
“This is not about pro-life or pro-choice, this is about women's safety,” said Schuitmaker. “It is extremely troubling that any person, regardless of whether they sit on any regulatory committee, would have this kind of power to really put the public at jeopardy.”
Schuitmaker wants the state to re-open the original complaint if it can. “If there is any possibility, I think it’s incumbent upon the state Board of Medicine to really examine it and go back and understand where they failed,” she said.
Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, whose group is following the case, said that this may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to medical boards covering for abortionists.
“This kind of cronyism and corruption within Medical Boards that protect abortionists from legitimate complaints is sadly not unique to Michigan,” Newman said. “We have seen similar situations in several other states, including Kansas during the [now-HHS Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius administration. These are cases where Boards create a political climate that shields abortionists from accountability no matter how egregious the offense, then turns the offending abortionists loose to continue to inflict pain and injury on women.”
“Those who will allow political ideology to trump the lives and health of women should be criminally prosecuted over this abuse of power and breach of public trust,” Newman continued. “I certainly hope heads roll in Michigan over this.”
Anyone wishing to prosecute Dr. Alexander will have to find him first. Local media report he has stopped returning calls and no longer answers the door at his Plainwell home. Target 8 reporters visited the abortion facility in Detroit where he was rumored to be working after the closure of his Muskegon clinic.
The receptionist told them, “He was working here, but he doesn't anymore.”