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Defending Life Spotlight

Maryland-DL-2021

Unsafe Spotlight

The Maryland Department of Health, through the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), makes all surgical abortion facility surveys and reports available online.29 The state has a lim- ited but relatively effective regulatory framework. Routine issues uncovered by the reports included: missing documentation of staff certification in Basic Life Support or Advanced Cardiac Life Support, failure to test autoclave machines, failure to document patient discharge diagnoses, failure to train staff in emergency patient transfers to emer- gency departments, and failure to screen staff for tuberculosis.

The Associates in OB/GYN Care facility in Baltimore was cited for a patient who was “not alert and oriented to person, place or time” before being left alone with unlicensed staff following a surgical abortion. Her chart notes state, “Patient, like many do, slept throughout. While writing orders, called by nurse that patient could not sit-up and had poor color… Patient not breathing and pulse faint I immedi- ately began CPR… 911 requested as soon as I began CPR.” That patient’s chart was missing vital signs during and after the abortion. Emergency responder records indicated the patient continued to have CPR administered, but ultimately “the patient died due to Severe Pulmonary Edema, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and Hypoxic Brain Injury.” The clinic staff failed to retrieve and use the auto- mated external defibrillator (AED), and the inspection found that the AED was not in working condition and in fact had a “do not use” sticker on it. Although a staff member’s record indicated training in the use of the AED, an interview confirmed that the staff member was not aware how to use it. “None of the staff knew how to recharge the machine.”

At another location of the same provider, a patient was provided with the abortion drug Misoprostol by a non-licensed staff member before the physician even arrived at the facil- ity. That patient was subsequently determined to be likely 22 weeks pregnant, well beyond the recommend gestational age of 9 weeks for chemical abortion. The abortion business required her to go to another facility for another dose of medication, then another facility for a D&C operation to complete the abortion surgically, and potentially a second D&C at a fourth facility. For this abortion business, providing patients with Misoprostol “at 11 weeks gestation or beyond, even if the patient has not been evaluated by a physician, and even if no physician is available on site” is standard protocol.

The Maryland Department of Health, through the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), makes all surgical abortion facility surveys and reports available online. “Ambulatory Care.” Maryland Department of Health.

NUMBER OF REPORTS: 44 
DATE RANGE: 2009–2018