By Cheryl Sullenger
Philadelphia, PA — Emotional testimony was heard today from two members of Karnamaya Mongar’s family who told the court about events that surrounded her overdose death during a second trimester abortion. Gosnell is charged with third degree murder for killing the 41-year old immigrant from Bhutan.
Yshodo Gurung, the daughter of Mongar, testified the Nepali language through an interpreter. Gurung testified that she was born in Bhutan, a small nation near India on the eastern edge of the Himalaya
mountains. Her family fled from Bhutan when she was a baby and came to live in a refugee camp in Nepal. The family lived there for nearly 20 years in crude thatched huts made of wood and corrugated tin. In 2009, they came to the United States under a refuge relocation program. They were assisted by the program for three months, then Karnamaya, her husband, daughter, son, and several members of their extended family were on their own.
About seven months after arriving and settling in Virginia, Mongar suspected she might be pregnant. Her suspicions were confirmed by a home pregnancy test. The family was poor and barely making ends meet. Mongar worried that she could not afford to raise a baby in this new country. Gurung urged her mom to keep the baby, but Mongar made the fatal decision to have an abortion.
Mongar spoke no English, except for a couple of phrases like, “thank you.” At the time of Mongar’s abortion Gurung spoke a little more than her mother, but understood little of the spoken language.
It is doubtful that anyone in the family was aware of the availability of assistance for pregnant women who struggle with similar challenges.
Fifteen days before her death, Mongar went to a “family planning” clinic near her home that was known to Gurang, but was turned away for an abortion because, at somewhere between 16-19 weeks, she was too far along in her pregnancy. Mongar was referred to an abortion clinic in Fredericksburg, Virginia, which also turned her away due to her advanced pregnancy. She was referred to an abortion clinic in Washington, DC. At that clinic, Mongar never even saw a doctor. The receptionist handed her a paper with the Women’s Medical Society address and phone number. She made an appointment.
“Most women may have given up or considered the roadblocks a sign from God not to abort, but most women have not lived the kind of life the Mongar family had endured. She was used to overcoming hardship, and this time, in a new country where she did not know there was help, her determination cost her life,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.
Mongar made the 5-5 ½ hour trip to Philadelphia, driven by her relative by marriage who was considered a brother, Damber Ghalley, who also testified of his family’s ordeal. He was a bit more acclimated to America, having first arrived in 1999. Gurung said that her mother was taken back into the clinic and had “medicine put inside her.” It was only after Mongar’s abortion had been started that they were told it was a two day procedure and that they would have to come back the next day.
The family got in the car and made the long trek back to Virginia that night.
Mongar began feeling strong abdominal pain in the night and took ibuprofen for relief. The next day Damber drove Mongar, Gurung, and other family members back to Philadelphia to finish the procedure.
At several points during her testimony, Gurung wept. At one point, the young woman broke down sobbing and needed time before she could continue.
Mongar was taken back to a room full of grungy, worn recliners where she would stay for the next five hours and was given some white pills by a woman. After that Mongar’s pain increased. She told her daughter, “It hurts all over the place.” Gurung went to get help and one of the women at the clinic gave her mother an IV. After that, she dozed in the recliner.
The Death of Karnamaya Mongar
At around 8:00 pm that night, Gurung was told the “doctor” was there and she would have to return to the main waiting room. She tried to wake her mother, before she left, but could not. After about an hour and a half, Gurang said she heard ambulance sirens. She and all family members of other patients were ushered to a second floor waiting room. Soon, her name was called and she was rushed by a clinic worker downstairs where she caught a glimpse of her mother in a tiny room laying on a bed. She was not allowed to go to her mother, but was taken into the parking lot where she began to sob with fright amid the confusion of the ambulance lights and people running about.
Damber later testified that he saw firemen with bolt cutters cut open a locked back door through which Mongar was removed from the clinic on a stretcher. Damber noticed Gosnell inside the clinic and asked him what happened, but Gosnell only replied, “The procedure is done. Your sister’s heart stopped.”
Sherry West, one of Gosnell’s employees, went with the family in their car to help guide them to the hospital. Eventually they were told that Mongar had died.
The next morning, Gosnell arrived in a “big truck” to pick up West. Earlier testimony indicated that Gosnell drove a newer model F150 extended cab pickup. Damber went to speak to Gosnell, who told him that he had done everything right and would answer any questions at any time.
Damber was adamant when he testified that Gosnell expressed no sympathy to them for the loss of their loved one.
Defense attorney Jack McMahon questioned Damber about a letter sent to the family by Gosnell. It was called a “sympathy” letter, and while Damber admitted to calling it that, it remained clear that he saw no expression of sympathy in it.
Mongar’s husband was not in court and has taken his wife’s death hard. To cope, he spends six days a week working as much as he can at a turkey processing plant. The family had filed a civil suit against Gosnell and the City of Philadelphia for not shutting down what has become known as Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.” While the state bears responsibility, it is sadly immune from prosecution.
“The State of Pennsylvania has enacted laws to protect women, but when it doesn’t enforce them, there are no consequences whatsoever. There is simply no incentive for State agencies to fulfill their duty. It seems so unjust,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “That’s why we need to keep public pressure on officials to enforce the law, because when they don’t, Gosnell and his horror house are the result.”
“House of Horrors”
Testimony was also given by three other witnesses today. First up was James Johnson, the common law husband of Elizabeth Hampton, the foster sister of Gosnell’s wife, Pearl.
Johnson was responsible for maintenance at Gosnell’s properties, including the abortion clinic at 3801 Lancaster. He had attempted to fix the leaky roof, but it didn’t work. The clinic was infested with rats as evidence by rat feces found regularly around the clinic. He tried to get rid of them with poison bait, but that didn’t work either. Gosnell brought in a cat, but apparently all the cat did was urinate on the rugs and defecate in the plants that were plentifully scattered throughout the clinic.
Johnson also testified to installing four security cameras, all of which were mounted inside and positioned to monitor employees, especially in areas where cash was handled.
Each morning Johnson would perform duties such as sweeping up, cleaning the cat litter, and caring for the fish and turtle tanks. He would also go to each procedure room and remove the “medical waste, which consisted of abortion remains, and take them to the basement where he would box them up for Stericycle to pick up weekly.
However, Stericycle stopped picking up the boxes due to an apparent billing dispute, so the bags just piled up in the basement, which Johnson testified was infested with rats along with the rest of the clinic. At one time, he had 27 bags full of aborted baby remains piled up in the basement with nowhere to send them.
Johnson frightfully testified that the toilets in the clinic would back up once or twice a week. When Johnson opened the clean out drain on the outside of the building, out gushed material in which he observed tiny arms and other body parts. He went inside and told Gosnell what had happened. Gosnell told him to clean it up. Johnson took a shovel and scooped up the human remains with a shovel into a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. He had to conduct this drain unclogging process over and over.
Nurse Reveals Financial Corruption
Next to testify was Della Mann, a retired military nurse who once worked for Gosnell for 3-4 years in the 1980s prior to her military deployment, and was also a patient at his clinic until 2008. Mann’s testimony was bizarre, to say the least.
Mann testified that she heard in 2009 that Gosnell was looking to hire a nurse, so she sought him out and applied or the job. He agreed to pay her $31 per hour, six hours per week to observe staff and review charts.
“It was awful,” Mann testified when asked about the clinic conditions she found at Gosnell’s clinic. She described filthy floors and equipment and used, dirty speculums that were apparently being reused without cleaning. Gosnell had the same equipment that he was using in the 1980s when she previously worked for him.
Mann only worked for Gosnell for two days before quitting out of fear of losing her nursing license, she said, because of the way she was paid and the dirty conditions. She explained how Gosnell would write her a check then have her sign it back to him in exchange for cash.
While it wasn’t fully explained in court, this behavior has been documented by Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics, Inc. as a method of evading the payment of taxes through keeping double books on clinic finances.
NAF Sees Horrors, But Does Not Report
During her two days of work for Gosnell in 2009, the clinic was visited by a representative of the National Abortion Federation. After Mongar’s death, Gosnell applied for membership with the NAF in an apparent attempt to legitimize what the Grand Jury called a “corrupt business enterprise.” The NAF representative did not interview Mann and later denied Gosnell membership. However, she never reported the horrific abortion practices or filthy conditions Mann testified clearly existed in the clinic at that time.
Mann was also a patient at the Lancaster clinic from 1990 until 2008. She admitted he paid no insurance co-payments there, as she would be required to at any other clinic. She routinely saw “Dr.” Eileen O’Neill, who is on trial with Gosnell for practicing medicine without a license. She said O’Neill would prescribe drugs to Mann without Gosnell’s presence at the clinic. She also testified to an unorthodox insurance billing practice that seemed slightly shady and implied billing for days she was not seen.
During testimony concerning payment for services, Prosecutor Ed Cameron prompted her to confirm that the clinic billed her insurance, asking, “Do you think you got all that treatment for free?”
To the surprise of everyone in the courtroom, O’Neill blurted out, “Yes!” She was rebuked by Judge Jeffery Minehart, who told her she is not allowed to speak then cautioned the jury to disregard her comment. O’Neill apologized to the court.
A Child Vaccine Program with No Children
Finishing up the day was Lorriane Matikjiw, who provided quality assurance for a federally funded children’s vaccine program in which Gosnell was enrolled. She testified that every 12-18 months participating sites would be for a chart review to ensure that children were receiving their vaccines on schedule, and to check to make sure the vaccines were being stored properly.
Gosnell was not present for their appointment. No charts were made available. She was taken to the refrigerators where she observed generally filthy conditions, the smell of cat urine, and a freezer where aborted baby remains and bloodly residue were stored along with the vaccines. Refrigeration logs were incomplete.
Matikjiw reported Gosnell to her supervisor, but was sent back to his clinic when he reapplied for program participation. When Matikjiw returned to Gosnell’s clinic, he shook her hand then left the building. She asked to review charts of children in the vaccine program and was told by Eileen O’Neill that the clinic had no children as patients, yet Matikjiw’s records showed that 19-20 children were enrolled.
Matikjiw indicated that O’Neill did not seem to understand her explanation of the program nor that it as a children’s vaccine program. O’Neill oddly told her that Gosnell needed to be in the program so his grandchild could get the vaccines. Matikjiw asked for O’Neill’s medical license number for her records, and O’Neill told her she had a license that lapsed in Delaware but hadn’t bothered to get a license in Pennsylvania because Gosnell “doesn’t pay me enough.”
Matikjiw was confused as to why a clinic that never saw children would be so adamant about enrolling in a children’s vaccine program. She reported Gosnell again to her supervisor, but nothing was ever done.
The obvious conclusion was that Gosnell was bilking this children’s vaccine program by reporting non-existing children as patients.
The prosecution will continue its case on Wednesday morning. Operation Rescue will be reporting from Philadelphia through Thursday.
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