Defending Life SpotlightAlabama-DL-2021
AUL submitted a public records request, under the Alabama Open Records Act, Code of Ala. § 36-12-40 et seq., to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Bureau of Health Provider Standards. Alabama’s inspection reports are thorough. There are numerous citations for unsanitary conditions and improper practices, but also numerous gravely serious violations. At one abortion business, Beacon Women’s Center, there had been no biomedical waste pickup for a period of time so “medical waste was placed in black trash bags and placed in the abortion clinic dumpster.” A physician would reuse Lidocaine bottles by keeping the used needle in the bottle and switching syringes. Another abortion business, New Woman All Women Health Care, was also cited for using forms in the medical record that were pre-filled for every patient, for pre-signing forms in the medical record even when the medical staff member wasn’t working that day “to make it easier on [themselves]”, and not documenting whether some patients who were given the abortion pill had a pelvic exam.
In one of the records from this clinic, a 17-year- old stated it wasn’t her decision to have an abortion, but her mother’s. The counseling record form showed: “Do you think having this abortion is in your best interest?” A: “No.” “Are you sure you want to have an abortion?” A: “No.” “Do you think you will most likely be able to go on with your normal activities without emotional or psychological problems because of the abortion?” A: “No.” “Why do you want to have the abortion?” A: “Because my mother want[ed] me to.” There was no documentation anywhere that staff followed up with the patient to discuss her concerns. Lastly, at Beacon Women’s Center an administrator said she was unaware there was a mandatory stat- utory rape reporting law. A 14-year-old terminated a 16.5 week pregnancy. An undated progress note stated that both the patient and her mother verified the unborn child’s father was 16 years old, making it rape in the second degree in Alabama, but there was no docu- mentation this was reported even though this “should have raised a reasonable person’s sus- picion of abuse.” One employee said she did not have a policy for when and to whom abuse was to be reported. The surveyor asked if the Medical Director followed reporting require- ments for minors who come for an abortion, but the Medical Director did not know to document what the minor patient said about the age of the father and did not know how or to whom he should report. He didn’t know that it needed to be reported even if a minor was the father. (Q: “So if mom is 12 and father is 15 then it will still have to be reported?”) Ultimately, there was no documentation the facility ever made the mandatory report on behalf of the 14-year-old or that anyone even knew they had to do this or how to do it.
At New Woman All Women Healthcare, a Registered Nurse (RN) made an error in draw- ing up Vasopressin dosages. (Vasopressin is a hormone intended to combat heavy bleeding.) Instead of drawing .02 cubic centimeters, she “misread the mark on where to draw up to” and was drawing 2 cubic centimeters—100 times the normal dose. She became aware she made a mistake when a physician asked her if she was drawing up too much medication because two patients vomited after he administered the paracervical block. This resulted in two patients being transferred by ambulance to the hospital. The RN was newly graduated and did not have a job description and nursing skills checked off in her file, and did not go through a compre- hensive orientation. The RN followed the RN Supervisor around a “few days to see how [the clinic] did things.”
Another abortion business failed to report suspected abuse to the authorities for a 14-year-old girl with two living children from separate births who came to the same clinic for two medical abortions in the span of four months. Lastly, a Birmingham abortion business suddenly closed in order to investigate the activity of two clinic employees who sold chemical abortion pills in the clinic’s parking lot. The two employees were reported to Alabama board of nursing.
NUMBER OF REPORTS: 43
DATE RANGE: 2009–2019