Troubled Maryland abortionist receives 3-month suspension for operating unlicensed facility
FORESTVILLE, MD, April 17, 2014 (OperationRescue.org) – Maryland abortionist Harold O. Alexander has once again had his medical license suspended for three months, according to a consent order issued by the Maryland Board of Physicians (MDBP) on April 16, 2014. The suspension is Alexander’s second in two years and is related to his operation of an illegal unlicensed abortion facility. He will also have to serve three years of probation.
The Board found Alexander guilty of “unprofessional conduct” and violating a previous consent order. The first year of his probation, Alexander is barred from the solo practice of medicine and must only work under the supervision of a Board-approved physician, who must file monthly reports on Alexander’s medical practices with a disciplinary panel of the MDBP.
“The fact that Alexander will be back in business in three months is ludicrous. This man has proved again and again that he is not fit to practice medicine and has no regard for the laws and regulations that govern the practice of medicine in Maryland, much less the safety of his patients,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.
Operation Rescue has complained about Alexander’s shoddy abortion practices several times and was the first to make the formal accusation that he was conducting an illicit abortion business in an unlicensed facility.
2011 Late-term abortion scheme
In 2011, Operation Rescue discovered that Alexander was involved in a shady late-term abortion scheme with disgraced Florida abortionist James Scott Pendergraft, IV. Alexander’s Integrated Ob/Gyn abortion clinic in Forestville, Maryland, acted as a secret late-term abortion location for patients of Pendergraft’s seeking extreme late-term abortions that are illegal elsewhere. Even though Pendergraft never held a license to practice in Maryland, he offered to inject the lethal drug digoxin into the preborn babies’ hearts for a hefty fee that was to be wired directly into Pendergraft’s Florida bank account.
Operation Rescue filed a complaint against Alexander for his part in Pendergraft’s dangerous bi-state abortion racket. When the MDBP subpoenaed medical records related to his business with Pendergraft, Alexander reported that he had shredded the records.
On August 22, 2012, the MDBP found that Alexander had committed unprofessional conduct when he shredded the medical records engaged in a host of abuses including sexual boundary violations, multiple botched abortions, shoddy or non-existent record keeping, and the illegal prescribing of large amounts of Viagra and other drugs to himself and non-patients.
That 2012 order placed Alexander on a three-month suspension and two years of probation.
In fact, Alexander was on probation when the MDBP confirmed through their own investigation that Alexander was operating an abortion clinic without a license to do so.
Unlicensed abortion facility
Four months later, on October 21, 2013, the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) conducted an inspection of Alexander’s abortion facility and discovered that in fact Alexander had failed to obtain either an abortion facility license or hospital privileges as required by law, according to the newly-released MDBP documents.
That inspection also found additional disturbing admissions and violations.
150 illegal abortions
While being interviewed under oath by the OHCQ, Alexander admitted that he had performed approximately 150 abortions at his unlicensed Forestville abortion clinic between June and October, 2013.
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Those abortions were done illegally and under dangerous conditions that risked the lives of his patients.
Alexander admitted and his employees confirmed that he had no registered nurse on staff as required by law.
Unqualified workers sedate patients
Alexander employed only two workers, neither of which were licensed or qualified to perform medical duties. Nevertheless, Alexander instructed one of them to administer sedation to patients even though they were unqualified to do so. One of his employees, who was only hired in June and had no formal medical training whatsoever, became his surgical assistant. His only other employee, who was hired as a receptionist, also assisted in patient care – if you can call it that.
In the ten abortion records reviewed by inspectors, they found that patients’ vital signs were taken once prior to surgical abortions and were never taken after the abortion. Women were left unattended and unmonitored during recovery with the exception of a pulse-oximetry meter attached to the patients’ fingers for the first 15 minutes after surgery.
Patient B’s dangerously outdated saline abortion
One of the records indicated that a woman referred to as “Patient B” underwent an outdated “saline with cytotec instillation for a mid-term abortion” and suffered “curettage following an explosive, unattended delivery.”
Saline abortions fell out of favor years ago due to high risks of complication and death for the mothers and was first replaced by the now-banned Partial Birth abortion method. Today, most late-second and third trimester abortions are done using the Induction abortion method perfected by George Tiller.
Cytotec was developed as drug to treat ulcers, but is frequently used by abortionists because it induces uterine contractions. The drug’s manufacturer has issued warnings not to use Cytotec during abortions because it causes unpredictable and sometimes violent contractions, which could have accounted for Patient B’s “explosive” delivery of her dead child, alone and unattended.
No medical records
In addition to Patient B’s horrific experience, inspectors found that Alexander continued to keep inadequate medical records, a substandard practice that contributed to his 2012 license suspension. In fact, when the inspectors requested to review medical records for two abortion patients seen by Alexander the previous week, he could not remember their names and could provide no medical records whatsoever for the two women.
Violations found by the OHCQ were so egregious that it lodged a complaint against Alexander with the MDBP.
Cease and Desist
On October 25, 2013, the MDBP issued a Cease and Desist Order against Alexander, barring him from doing surgical abortions or administering certain drugs, including sedation.
However, on December 19, 2013, the Board modified its cease and desist order and allowed Alexander to resume providing surgical abortions as long as he did them only at licensed facilities and prescribed drugs in a manner consistent with DEA regulations.
“The Board’s decision to allow Alexander to resume surgical abortions in light of the fact that he routinely employed practices that showed a complete disregard for the lives and safety of his patients was more than curious. It was appalling,” said Newman. “It was hard to believe that the Board would willingly place the lives of women in this quack’s incompetent hands. Yet, we knew he faced an upcoming disciplinary hearing and fully expected his medical license to be revoked.”
Also contributing to the hope that Alexander would soon be barred from the practice of medicine was a million-dollar civil judgment levied against him in 2013, which was reduced by a judge in March to the still-significant amount of $650,000. A jury found that Alexander was negligent in the case of Shannon Hall, a 21-year old college student who went to Alexander in 2008 for an abortion of what she was told was a 10-12 week pregnancy.
Instead, Alexander failed to diagnose the fact that Hall suffered from a molar pregnancy that later invaded her lungs and turned cancerous, requiring extensive treatment. As the result of Alexander’s negligence, Shannon Hall will never have children and will suffer health effects for the rest of her life.
However, yesterday, the MDBP released Alexander’s new suspension order that noted Alexander’s discipline was agreed upon after the Board conducted negotiations with him, which will allow him to be back inside an abortion clinic in three short months.
“While we are grateful that disciplinary action was taken, we are disappointed and upset that the discipline is woefully inadequate and only ensures that women will continue to be subjected to Alexander’s shoddy and dangerous abortion practices,” said Newman. “We have to wonder what it takes to get this incompetent man’s license revoked after all the harm he has caused.”
Pro-abortion political agenda?
Newman wonders if a pro-abortion political agenda might be at work within the liberal state government. Could the fact that the number of abortionists and abortion facilities continues to decline has somehow contributed to the MDBP’s willingness to put a substandard abortion provider with a documented history of shoddy practices and disdain for the law back on the street?
Newman continued, “It is as if making sure that he is out there doing abortions is more important than the safety of women to these people. Aborting babies appears to trump women’s lives, and that is a betrayal of the trust the people place in medical boards who have a duty to protect the public and leave political ideology out of it.”
Operation Rescue vows to continue monitoring Alexander for future abuses.
“I have a feeling that the Maryland Board of Physicians hasn’t heard the last of us or of Alexander,” said Newman. “It’s just too bad that more women will have to suffer before the Board finally does the right thing and completely bans him from the practice of medicine.”
Reprinted with permission from OperationRescue.org.