Mother of woman who died in botched abortion seeks change to laws
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, Wed, Mar 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Five years ago Stephanie White lost her healthy 21-year-old daughter Denise during a botched abortion by Baltimore abortionist Romeo Ferrer. Now she is taking steps to make sure that no other mother has to suffer the same anguish that she experienced.
White was scheduled to speak today before a Maryland Senate committee in favor of Senate Bill 505, the Freestanding Ambulatory Care Facilities bill, which seeks to have abortion clinics subject to the same health and safety regulations that govern ambulatory care facilities or out-patient surgical clinics.
Currently Maryland abortion clinics are regulated as simple doctor’s offices that perform routine care.
Denise died on February 3, 2006 of an overdose of anesthesia given during a second trimester dilation and evacuation abortion at Ferrer’s Gynecare Center abortion clinic in Severna Park. Ferrer was accused of failing to properly administer anesthesia or monitor Denise during and after the abortion. When she suffered complications, Ferrer did not properly administer resuscitation.
Denise, who was 16 weeks into her pregnancy, was taken to the Anne Arundel Medical Center and declared dead two hours after the abortion began.
The Maryland Board of Physicians (MBP) found that the abortion facility did not have a qualified anesthetist and that the staff was not trained in basic life support methods.
“I don’t want to see a doctor do that and get away with it ever again,” Mrs. White told the Catholic Review. (http://www.catholicreview.org/subpages/storyarchnew.aspx?action=9576) “It tore my family apart,” she said, “and I don’t want to see anyone else go through this.”
White is now raising her grandson, who she said was devastated by the loss of his mother.
“He cried for almost two years on the third of the month when his mother died,” White said. “He slept with me. I would wake up and he would be sweating. He’d be calling for her.”
White has launched a malpractice lawsuit against Ferrer, and she is being supported by the Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) in her determination to see abortion clinics in Maryland regulated as ambulatory surgical facilities.
A press release from the MCC states: “Denise is just one face of many who have lost their lives or been seriously injured in Maryland. When these women walked in to those clinics, they expected and deserved appropriate care. What they received was tragic and preventable. This is an unnecessary public health crisis with an easy fix.”
Maryland Catholic Conference’s associate director for respect for life, Nancy Paltell, pointed out that Maryland abortion clinics have a long history of serious injuries and deaths.
The Maryland Board of Physicians have investigated cases such as that of abortionist Steven C. Brigham, who would start second-trimester abortions at his clinic in New Jersey and then finish them at his Elkton, Maryland clinic.
“The very reason he (Brigham) chose Maryland was because Maryland doesn’t regulate abortion clinics as surgical facilities,” Paltell said. “He couldn’t do it in New Jersey, so he had patients drive 60 miles to Maryland where he knew he would not be subject to these kinds of regulations.”
The change in regulations that White and the Maryland Catholic Conference are endorsing in Senate Bill 505 would cover basic health and safety issues, Paltell told the Catholic Review.
“We’re talking about having a defibrillator, having assistants administer oxygen, having an anesthesiologist there if you’re administering anesthesia, reviewing your protocols, making sure your people are trained,” Paltell said, “All these basic things are covered under ambulatory surgical facility regulations, but are absent from a typical doctor’s office where they are not performing invasive surgery.”
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