Press Release–Governor acknowledges death of abortion patient in Wichita

[The following is a press release from Kansans For Life. -OR]

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: Monday, February 21,2005
Contact: Mary Kay Culp, Exec. Dir., Kansans for Life
913-406-4446

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ memo to Board of Healing Arts admits death of woman in Wichita

Kansans for Life believes Governor’s signature could have possibly averted woman’s death!

Abortion clinic activists in Wichita have videotaped five ambulance transports from George Tiller’s Wichita Women’s Health Care late-term abortion clinic to Wesley Medical Center in the past 13 months (www.operationrescue.org). One was last week (Feb. 17) and one was January 13 which involved a woman who they were later informed had died. To date, there has been no media inquiry and little coverage, probably because of a lack of official recognition of the death.

Kansans for Life was recently given a February 2 memo from Governor Sebelius to Larry Buening, Executive Director of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts (BOHA). In the Feb. 2 memo, Governor Kathleen Sebelius asked the BOHA to investigate “the circumstances of the death of a patient at the Wichita Women’s Health Center on or about January 13, 2005.”

Kansans for Life is taking that as an official indication that the woman in the January 13 incident indeed died.

(Note: The last person who wants there to be a known death at Dr. Tillers is Governor Sebelius, so it is impossible to believe that this was simply a failure to apply the word “alleged” in the middle of the phrase “the death”.)

Kansans for Life Executive Director Mary Kay Culp said: “Use of the Board of Healing Arts alone to investigate this death makes us question just how serious the Governor is about getting to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding the death in Wichita. Just this week the Board proved once again just how slowly and ineffectively they move when the subject of their inquiry is an abortion clinic.” (See below and attached documents.)

Governor Sebelius, however, does appear to be taking the possible political ramifications seriously, given that the memo also asks for ‘the Board’s determination of whether H.B. 2176, passed by the 2003 legislature would have in any way mitigated or prevented the patient’s death.’ HB 2176 (the Abortion Clinic Licensing bill) was vetoed by Sebelius in 2003. In her veto message she asserted that: “Kansans experience and appreciate some of the highest standards for medical care in the country.”

Regarding this determination, Mr. Buening of the BOHA, for reasons stated below, is not likely to give the Governor an answer she does not want to hear, but we will: Yes, we believe the Abortion Clinic Licensing bill could have mitigated or prevented the recent death of a woman in a Wichita abortion clinic. One can certainly make the case that the three ambulance transports last summer and fall would have resulted in Department of Health action under the Abortion Clinic Licensing bill, which would have required injuries to be reported to the Department of Health within 10 days, and deaths reported by the “next department business day.”

The bill would have required the department to inspect and license abortion clinics using abortion-specific standards that include assurance of working emergency equipment and trained personnel. And it would have given the Department of Health the power to ‘deny, suspend or revoke a license in any case in which it finds that there has been a substantial failure to comply?’

The Kansas House and Senate passed Abortion Clinic Licensing after careful deliberation of voluminous factual evidence. This included testimony of OB-GYN’s who took full days from their practices to testify, and the fact that the bill has been upheld in federal court five times because the U.S. Supreme Court has said abortion is unique and unlike other medical practices. Governor Sebelius’ veto ignored the legislature’s informed recognition of the desperate need for effective regulation of Kansas abortion clinics, and for that she should be held accountable.”

Reasons the public cannot trust the Governor or the director of the Board of Healing Arts to be objective include the fact that:

– Wichita abortionist George Tiller, owner of Wichita Women’s Health Center, the site of the January 13th incident, and his Pro Kan Do Political Action Committee have been major contributors to Ms. Sebelius’ campaigns for public office. In 2003, Tiller lobbied strongly against passage of the Abortion Clinic Licensing Bill.

– BOHA Executive Director Larry Buening is married to a top Sebelius staffer. Indeed when ORW tried to see the Governor about the January 13th incident, Mrs. Buening was sent out to talk to them.

– Even if there were no family ties to the Governor’s office, the BOHA has proven over and over that they do not act effectively against substandard abortionists. Last week’s slap on the wrist to a Kansas City, Kansas abortionist after a one-year probe of serious confirmed complaints continues the record of BOHA ineffectiveness. (See below).

– The “Guidelines for Office-Based Surgery” touted by the Governor and abortion supporters as an alternative to the vetoed bill in 2003, and offered as part of the remedy in the recent disciplinary action against the KCK abortionist, have no force of law or procedure for timely or efficient enforcement, especially as regards closing the clinic while deficiencies are addressed. They recommend but do not require reporting of injuries or death.

– BOHA’s has a long record of slow and ineffective oversight of substandard abortionists:

Last week the BOHA stated their findings against Krishna Rajanna, Kansas City, Kansas abortionist, one full year after complaints were filed. He was found by the BOHA to have :
–Failed to maintain adequate cleanliness, with overall clutter and disarray, including, but not limited to, non-lidded trash, overflowing sharps containers, carpet in a surgical area, & storing human tissue on a counter and then placing it in the freezer of a refrigerator with food storage;
–Improperly disposed of human/ tissue medical waste and sharp objects;
–Maintained medications that were expired;
–Dispensed medications without proper labeling;
–Kept unmarked, pre-drawn syringes of medication in the refrigerator;
–Violated the national standards for sedation & analgesia.

The disciplinary action against Rajanna included a fine of just $1,000.00 and a mandate that he obtain life support training, indicating he has not possessed the necessary emergency skills during the past year, if at all. Amazingly, BOHA is mandating how Rajanna practices, and what inspections and training he must undergo, without closing his doors until he meets expectations. (This is the same flawed pattern of disciplinary actions BOHA took against Rajanna’s former co-abortionists Kristin Neuhaus and Malcolm Knarr.) BOHA is selectively protecting only those women who go to Rajanna after February 2006, the final date for him to comply with all their requirements.

Kansans for Life (KFL) acted to force BOHA to acknowledge the atrocities of the Rajanna clinic after repeated requests from law enforcement to the BOHA fell on deaf ears. BOHA’s disciplinary document proves that whistleblower allegations were true, as were the clinic photos shown by the AG’s office to the legislature last year.

Rajanna grossly violates standards of cleanliness and medical practice, yet BOHA permits this substandard facility to stay open?without any guaranteed improved safety. Last month, a foreign-born woman was observed vomiting in Rajanna’s parking lot after her abortion, and although dizzy, would be driving herself home. This is an outrage! A clinic that is substandard should be closed. The Abortion Clinic Licensing bill would have allowed abortion businesses to remain open only if obeying abortion-specific standards.

KFL repeatedly chastised BOHA for its leniency on Ktistin Neuhaus’ violations beginning in 1999 and its foot-dragging on abortionist Malcom Knarr’s case in 1992. Neuhaus and Knarr had already been severely restricted by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and their partner Rajanna was allegedly supporting himself by writing drug prescriptions improperly, leading to a lawsuit for wrongful death in 1995.

– The state’s six abortion clinics are currently defined simply as doctor’s offices and thus are not licensed as clinics. This means they fall only under the authority of BOHA-an agency set up to oversee doctors, not clinics. One abortion clinic voluntarily registers as an ASC (ambulatory surgical center) and submits to KDHE oversight, but the inspections are not abortion-specific and they have never been penalized for the multiple violations of the ASC regulations they are under. As it stands now, abortion clinics can, and do, violate their own industry standards with impunity.

– Abortion supporters do not want the public to know the truth about Kansas abortion emergencies and deaths because their excuse for making it legal was that it would be safe. They try to hide the four other known deaths from abortions performed by Kansas-based, licensed abortionists-in Kansas City 1989, Houston 1991, and St Louis 1981 & 1997. They know those deaths are only known because of civil lawsuits that were unable to be settled out of court. They know that under the current law there is no way to know how many other injuries and deaths there are. They know that patients and their families do not often report recent abortions to emergency room physicians (if the family even knows.) They know that 90% of late term abortions and 50% of the remaining abortions in Kansas are on women from out of state who leave soon after and are never heard from again.

Kansans for Life Executive Director Mary Kay Culp said:

“Kansans for Life asks why there is no transparency and accountability regarding abortion injuries and deaths in Kansas. We call upon the media to inquire and report these events and if stonewalled to demand answers of our elected officials. We want to know why the Governor isn’t questioned for using an agency to investigate the Wichita death headed by a man with family ties to the top of her administration-an agency which has shown an inability as recently as last week to effectively discipline practitioners when they are abortionists.

“These events in Wichita and Kansas City expose the myth that abortion clinics are safe because they are legal. Late-term abortionist George Tiller is reaping many benefits from his long time financial investment in Governor Sebelius. She vetoed the Abortion Clinic Licensing bill which would have required reporting of injuries and deaths at abortion clinics and checked for emergency equipment and properly trained personnel at abortion clinics. Why has the monitoring of abortion injuries and deaths in Kansas been left to only pro-life organizations?

“Kathleen Sebelius is protecting the abortion industry and her donors, not women. This is especially unfortunate because for abortion medical malpractice suits are not women are afraid to bring lawsuits against abortion clinics, no matter how substandard, given the possible publicity involved–a fact not lost on abortion clinics.”

Additional Info:

ORW reports that Tiller’s website listed Dr. Leroy Carhart as the physician on duty at the abortion clinic Jan. 13 and Feb.17. A google search on Carhart reveals the Nebraska AG’s office acted against him for accusations of incompetence by a former clinic administrator. Leroy Carhart successfully challenged Nebraska’s ban on partial birth abortion in the U.S. Supreme Court.)

Also note: The ambulance trips observed at Tiller’s WWHC clinic do not include any trips from the clinic to the hospital that may have been made in the clinic’s private van, or possible trips from LaQunita Inn where Tiller, until recently, when forbidden by LaQunita, routinely kept patients overnight.)

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Microsoft Word COPY of letter (original in MS Publisher with logo)

(Hand-delivered) Feb.21, 2005

Dear Mr. Buening:
Your letter of February 14 summarizes the disciplinary action taken against abortionist Krishna Rajanna on Feb.12, 2005. Since Kansans for Life was the agent that allowed evidence to get recognized by you (where law enforcement and Wyandotte DA had failed) KFL would certainly have attended that meeting had your office notified me or posted it on the online BOHA agenda. We monitor your site and, although other practitioners’ names were listed for Feb. 12, Rajanna’s was not.

Additionally, as I am now Kansans for Life Director of Legislative Research, our new State Legislative Director Dan Williams wrote you in early January requesting an update as to the status of the Rajanna inquiry. He has received no reply.

When I attended your June 2005 meeting, it was plain to me that the Board was ignorant of the Rajanna clinic scandal. I appreciated the chance to speak for a few minutes and sent an informational follow-up letter to each Board member. Amazingly, I received not one response, nor even a short email acknowledging receipt of my letter by any member.
In my follow-up letter, I requested that the Board authorize you to tell the legislature that the Board Guidelines for Office-Based Surgery (OBS) were not equivalent to the vetoed clinic licensure bill which has passed federal court scrutiny 5 times. For at least 2 years, abortion supporters have claimed that your Guidelines sufficiently protect women in abortion clinics, but this Rajanna disciplinary action proves the contrary.

We are deeply disappointed, though unfortunately not surprised, at the results of your 1-year probe. Rajanna remains open today, operating without life-saving certification or accredited facility approval. According to your findings, KFL was right, and the AG was right, that a licensed practitioner has been operating a sub-standard, deficient, filthy clinic.
Despite your findings that Rajanna was, and is today, unable to guarantee life-saving services, he is still doing abortions as he “slides into” OBS compliance. Women are in jeopardy up until February 2006 at the Rajanna clinic. This is what BOHA intervention amounts to!

KFL has strenuously opposed this pattern of protecting abortionists rather than protecting the safety of women, as witnessed in your dealings with Rajanna’s former co-employees Kristin Neuhaus and Malcolm Knarr. You permitted Neuhaus to stay in business when she was practically unable to viably practice medicine due to DEA restrictions. You allowed women access to Neuhaus while she was under random drug testing, and prescription supervision. You described her deficient at every level of patient care: intake, monitoring, and recovery. Like Rajanna, she persisted in keeping pre-drawn syringes and was not certified in resuscitation.

Your stubborn resistance to removing admitted drug addict and felon Knarr was so appalling it personally lead me to this “hobby” of monitoring abortionists and malpractice in Kansas. The charges in the whistleblower affidavit that nailed Knarr incredibly “matches” the information of the Rajanna whistleblower 11years later! (see enclosed chart)
It is hard not to see politics, rather than logic and true professionalism, at work here. If there are other licensed practitioners “living on the edge” by doing risky procedures in their offices instead of licensed facilities, why not honestly address those problems separately? This is not a situation where you must treat all licensed practitioners equally because the U.S. Supreme Court has said Abortion is unique and unlike other medical practices. For over 30 years, litigation has clearly outlined the specific needs of abortion clinics, based on numerous, continuing cases of abortionists, like Rajanna, cutting corners.

Law enforcement officers who visited Rajanna’s clinic were disgusted, yet they were not able to find a state regulatory agency willing to close it. They saw roaches, bloodied floors and young women without medical training, much less a high school diploma, running an assembly-line nightmare. (As has been validated by New York Times, abortion clinics are notorious for employing impoverished untrained staffers.)

Your agency is ineffective at closing such a place without a statutory licensing authority. KDHE is also ineffective at forcing compliance from the Planned Parenthood clinic voluntarily licensed as an ASC. The abortion clinic licensing bill ALONE has the teeth to secure compliance from abortionists who are violating their own industry standards with impunity.

Additionally, the abortion clinic licensing bill mandates a clinic director with responsibility for monitoring the staff AND the abortionist. Your Guidelines do not. Kansas-licensed Leroy Carhart worked at a Humedco abortion clinic in Nebraska where the medical director charged him with using his cell phone and falling asleep during abortions, as well as breaking safety protocols. Even if Carhart has been issued a copy of your Guidelines, how are they monitored or enforced?

The disciplinary action mandating cardiac life-support training indicates Rajanna has not possessed the necessary emergency skills during this year, nor is he required to be certified as such until August 2005, while he continues to operate. Based on information from several sources in 2003 and 2004, Rajanna did not have the necessary monitoring equipment, trained staff, nor medical procedures in place to follow these guidelines. He did not have one person dedicated to monitoring the patient under analgesia & sedatives. He did not have a properly outfitted and manned recovery room.

In January, a pro-life citizen tried to help a foreign-born woman who was observed vomiting in Rajanna’s parking lot, and although dizzy, would be driving herself home. Why should we believe your “intervention” with Rajanna has changed anything? Yours is a reactive agency, and there are no signs posted, or public awareness campaigns conducted, on how to report deficient assembly-line abortion clinics.

This disciplinary action for Rajanna raises many troubling questions, specifically:

1.Regular observers at Rajanna’s clinic see him bring black garbage bags out of the office and into his car, and have followed him as he deposited this medical waste in various private housing dumpsters. How does the Board action secure daily compliance of medical waste or any other mandate?
2.When will the OSHA requirements be enforced, a complaint that the clinic whistleblower said he ignored?
3. Why is such a small fine incurred when so much expensive tax-funded manpower is involved?
4. Why do you not use the full force of your authority to close him until he passes OBS inspections and achieves life-support certification?
5. Kansas’ six abortion clinics belong in an inspection-based licensing program with legally tested standards. Why will you not relinquish them when you have neither the expertise nor the budget to micro-manage them?

I await your reply.

Sincerely,
Kathy Ostrowski, KFL Legislative Research Director