Two Brigham-Owned Abortion Facilities Seek Exemption from Virginia Regulations

By Cheryl Sullenger

Virginia Beach, VA — As Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe engages in an effort to scrap abortion clinic safety standards, two abortion facilities owned by the notorious New Jersey abortionist Steven Chase Brigham are seeking variances that would exempt them from complying with much of the law.

Virginia Women’s Wellness in Virginia Beach and Virginia Health Group, also known as American Women’s Center, in Fairfax, Virginia, admit that they are unable to comply with facility standards even though they were allowed two years to come into compliance with a 2012 emergency law that became permanent in 2013. Both have made applications to the Virginia Board of Health for variances that would exclude them from either having to make facility changes or move.

Brigham has had licenses revoked in six states and currently awaits word from the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners whether his last license in that state will also be revoked.

If Brigham’s facilities cannot comply by late 2014, they would be forced to close. It is believed that eleven other abortion facilities also cannot comply with the facility requirements by the time the grace period expires.

Since his election last year, Gov. McAuliffe has appointed five new members of the Health Board in an effort to pack the Board with abortion supporters that would ensure that the abortion facility safety regulations are repealed.

“Issuing a variance to abortion clinics owned by one of the most dangerous abortionists in the nation is a very bad idea, and repealing the safety standards is an even worse one,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Brigham has a long history of flouting the law and endangering women with his seedy and deceptive business practices. If left to their own devices and without any accountability for maintaining appropriate standards, abortion facilities can only be counted on to sink to the lowest of patient care standards that places the lives and health of women at risk.”

In 2010, Brigham and his associate, abortionist Nicola Riley of Utah, came to the attention of Cecil County prosecutors in Maryland after the two seriously botched a late-term abortion on a woman who required emergency surgery to save her life. Hospital staff alerted police after the pair exhibited suspicious behavior when they hastily dropped their injured patient off at the emergency room.

Brigham and Riley were arrested and jailed on murder charges after an investigation showed that at least 35 late-term, viable babies were aborted illegally by him in Maryland, where he has never held a medical license. Because practicing medicine without a license is a crime, a Maryland law kicked in that allows for murder charges in the event a viable baby is killed during the commission of a crime.

While the criminal charges were later dropped, Riley’s Maryland medical license was revoked and revocation proceedings were initiated against Brigham in his home state of New Jersey.

Due to his deceptive and dangerous practices, Brigham was ordered to have no part in abortions businesses in Pennsylvania. In Maryland, all four of his licensed abortion facilities were ordered to close last year after authorities discovered that a patient had died and that drugs were administered incorrectly, creating a danger to the public.

Brigham also served time in prison in 1998 for billing fraud and has been in and out of court with suits filed by creditors for unpaid bills. Records indicate he was involved in bankruptcy proceedings in Connecticut in 2000.

Both of Brigham’s Virginia facilities have been cited for multiple safety violations that reflect a gross disregard for their patients.

At Virginia Women’s Wellness in Virginia Beach, some of the violations include:

• Failure to disclose facility ownership.
• Failure to conduct criminal background checks on employees.
• Failure to provide patients with contact information where complaints may be filed.
• Improper handling and cleaning/sterilizing of dirty surgical equipment.
• Failure to change gloves between handling a “dirty” suction machine jar containing bloody aborted baby remains and handling a clean one.
• Four out of five recovery room recliners were noticeably dirty and broken.
• Tears were found in patient examination tables.
• Failure to properly maintain patient monitoring equipment.
• Failure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for administration of controlled substances.
• Failure to ensure that injectable drugs were mixed and labeled in accordance with regulations.
• Failure to develop a required quality assurance program.
• In 13 of 13 abortion records inspected, all patient records failed to note specific drugs administered in the local anesthetic.
• Facility failed to meet building standards.

At Virginia Heath Group in Fairfax, some of the violations include:

• Failure to provide patients with contact information where complaints may be filed.
• Failure to verify licensing or certification of health care professionals.
• Failure to clean reusable medical equipment between patients.
• Tears were found in patient examination tables.
• Failure to maintain other infection control protocols.
• Expired medications.
• Mishandled and improperly stored medications.
• Failure to note patient’s condition upon discharge in patient record.
• Failure to maintain adequate medical records with additional omissions of information.
• Facility failed to meet building standards.

“Many of the violations had to do with cutting corners on women’s health, and are reminiscent of the conditions found in Kermit Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ in Philadelphia,” said Newman. “Because Brigham has demonstrated an unwillingness to comply with medical standards and other laws in a number of states over the past three decades, there is no reason to think that he will ever comply with Virginia’s abortion safety regulations. Based on his horrific record of abortion abuses, we urge the Virginia State Board of Health to reject the two facilities’ requests for variances and allow them to shut down when the grace period expires later this year.”

Suicide of Former Brigham Associate Highlights Mental Illness Inside the Abortion Cartel

By Cheryl Sullenger

Baltimore, MD — The tragic suicide of a woman once associated with the notorious abortionist Steven Chase Brigham and his “secret” late-term abortion clinic in Elkton, Maryland, has helped to shed light on how high employee turn-over at abortion clinics make them magnets for desperate workers with mental health and addiction issues who may find it difficult to obtain employment elsewhere.

Kimberly Marion Walker’s mental illness began to manifest in 2005, three years after graduating from medical school at Drexel University and during her residency at St. Peter’s Hospital in New Jersey. The New Jersey Professional assistance program diagnosed her with “cannabis dependence and possible paranoid delusions.”

Certainly Walker is not alone among abortion clinics workers who experience drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness. The issue drew attention during the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, when at least three of his former employees testified that they suffered from various mental illnesses in conjunction with substance addiction.

“Our research shows that abortion clinics across America have often employed those with known mental health and substance abuse issues. This poses a danger to women that is a matter that needs greater attention from oversight authorities in order to protect the public,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Walker’s tragic life is a case in point.”

After her diagnosis, Walker voluntarily entered an inpatient treatment program where doctors found that her paranoia led her to believe that “people were following her and attempting to harm her.” She was suicidal. During her treatment, she was diagnosed with a mood disorder, prescribed medication for that condition only, and released.

But without the anti-psychotic drugs she apparently needed, her condition only worsened.

On October 26, 2006, during her leave of absence from a residency program during which she sought treatment for her mental illness, Walker walked into St. Peter’s Hospital, pointed a loaded handgun at a security guard, and fired repeatedly.

Miraculously, the gun failed to discharge and no one was hurt, but Walker was arrested and stood trial for attempted murder. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was admitted into the Ann Klein Forensic Center where her delusions, such as thinking the radio and television were speaking directly to her, continued to manifest. She was even wrongly convinced that she had murdered her boyfriend.

Three mental health evaluations conducted after her arrest produced three different — but all very serious — diagnoses, according to records obtained by Operation Rescue from the Maryland Board of Physicians. Those diagnoses were: Bipolar, Type II with Psychotic Features; Schizoaffective, Bipolar Type; and Schizoaffective, Bipolar Type with a differential diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type.

She was treated and prescribed an anti-psychotic drug that seemed to stabilize her condition by 2008. However, when Walker would reduce her medication dosage on her own, her symptoms would return.

Now living on her own and working part-time jobs, Walker began to believe that her medication was the cause of her mental health issues. She reduced her medication dosage and finally stopped taking it altogether on July 8, 2009.

A week later, she applied for a medical license in the State of Maryland.

Unsurprisingly, Walker’s symptoms returned. It was during this time, in July or August of 2009, that she first met Steven Chase Brigham through a “help wanted” ad on his website. She submitted her Curriculum Vitae online and was soon contacted by Brigham. He indicated he wanted to hire her as soon as her medical license was approved and offered to train her to do abortions.

In September, 2009, anticipating that a medical evaluation was a requirement of licensure, Walker resumed taking her anti-psychotic medication.

The medical license application process took longer than anticipated, so in January, 2010, Brigham brought Walker into his Elkton facility three to four times per month apparently for the purpose of “observing” abortion procedures.

In another parallel to the Gosnell case, Walker later told Board investigators that Brigham’s abortion clinic “nursing staff” appeared to be comprised of “foreign medical graduate[s]” with doctorates who were unlicensed, just as she was. Gosnell employed similar workers, such as Steven Massoff, who was an unlicensed graduate of a medical school in the Caribbean who could not obtain a legitimate residency in the U.S., and Eileen O’Neal, who was also a medical school graduate who held no valid medical license.

Like Gosnell, who paid his unlicensed “doctors” a shockingly low salary, Brigham paid Walker just $50 per session to cover “gas and tolls.”

Walker later told a Board of Physicians inquiry that she personally witnessed Brigham administering intravenous sedation and conducting at least 50 abortion procedures even though he has never been licensed to practice in Maryland. Those abortions, she said, were mostly second trimester abortions, with about 30 percent of “cases” consisting of abortions beyond 20 weeks gestation.

After “observing” Brigham for eight months, on August 2, 2010, Walker was informed that her medical license application was rejected due to her mental instability and the fact that she was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. The Board determined that she posed a danger to the public, yet she continued to “observe” abortions at Brigham’s Elkton facility.

Walker was not present on August 9, 2010, when a patient known as D.B. suffered a perforated uterus and pulled bowel during a late-term abortion at the Elkton facility requiring emergency surgery to save her life. She was informed of the botched abortion incident by Brigham a few days later. He warned her that there would be in investigation and told her not to come in the following week because the Elkton clinic would be closed.

Indeed, there was an investigation. Hospital emergency room staff notified police of the suspicious behavior of Brigham and his associate, Nicola Riley, when they dropped their seriously injured patient at the hospital. This prompted the Elkton Police to raid of Brigham’s Elkton abortion clinic, where they seized records along with the bodies of 35 late-term aborted babies that had been stored in a bloody freezer. A Board of Physicians inquiry ensued.

Among those records seized by police was a patient log that indicated “Dr. Woaker,” referring to Kimberly Walker, had provided recovery care after abortions for patients at Elkton on August 4, 2010 – two days after her application for licensure had been rejected by the Maryland Board of Physicians.

Walker denied treating any patient and said did not know why her name was on the patient log, a denial that may or may not have been the truth since Brigham also falsely denied treating patients. She indicated that she never knew Brigham was unlicensed in Maryland, telling investigators that she just assumed that he was.

Since Brigham was not licensed, the abortions done in Elkton either by him or with his assistance were illegal. Both Brigham and Riley were later arrested on murder charges for aborting viable babies during the commission of a crime. Those charges were later dropped after an expert witness for the prosecution unexpectedly backed out of the case.

One might expect that this episode would have been the end of Walker’s medical career, but surprisingly, despite her attempt to murder a hospital security guard, despite her serious mental illness, despite her history of not properly taking her medication, and despite her involvement with Brigham’s illegal late-term abortion business, the Maryland Board of Physicians issued Kimberly Walker a license to practice medicine on February 26, 2013.

But that license came with conditions. In a consent agreement, Walker had to promise to work under a mentoring physician, who had to file regular reports about Walker’s progress. She also had to submit to continued psychiatric treatment and comply with a prescribed medication regimen.

By October of 2013, it became obvious that Walker had failed to live up to the conditions the Board placed on her. She changed her medication and stopped attending appointments with her psychiatrist. She failed to undergo regular drug screening, and cancelled meeting with her case manager.

In further violation of her consent agreement, Walker entered into a contract for employment at an unspecified “medical clinic” and provided “patient services” without notifying the Board or gaining their approval.

Operation Rescue has reason to believe that this “medical clinic” was an abortion facility. One of her on-line physician profiles indicated that Walker’s practice was “focusing on women’s health as an OB-GYN” and that patients could expect a “full range of medical care.” Those phrases are often used by abortionists who do not want to openly admit that is what they are.

In light of at least ten consent agreement violations noted by the Board, Walker’s medical license was revoked for a period of two years. The revocation order was signed on December 30, 2013.

Two weeks later, Kimberly Marion Walker was found dead at the age of 36 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

An autopsy conducted on January 14, 2014, noted that a toxicology screening revealed that she had no drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of her suicide. Her mental illness had taken its final toll.

Ironically, Steven Brigham, who had been the cause of some of Walker’s legal issues, commented on her obituary guest book that her loss was a tragedy and that “she had so much to offer.”

It is hard to understand, given Walker’s history of serious mental illness and her lack of judgment displayed in her association with Steven Brigham, that the Maryland Board of Physicians would ever grant her a medical license in the first place. That act placed Walker’s patients at risk, especially in light of her propensity to frequently alter or ignore her medication regimen. In this case, the Board, whose duty it is to ensure that only competent medical providers are licensed, let the public down.

But the fact that Brigham had been so anxious to hire her, having known of her struggles with mental illness – in the same way Gosnell sought to hire workers that had mental health histories – should raise a red flag.

Abortion clinics are often desperate to maintain enough workers to keep their doors open. Even Walker told investigators that she observed “an influx of different nurses that worked in and out of that office.”

“The high employee turnover rate at abortion businesses makes them frantic for workers. Those like Walker and the women Gosnell employed are desperate for employment. That creates a ‘perfect storm’ that places those who are suffering from mental instability in abortion clinics around the country,” said Newman. “We know of many current and former abortion clinic workers who suffer from depression and other mental disorders that have found homes inside the abortion cartel. This creates a climate where women are placed at unacceptable risk.”

Operation Rescue’s research as shown that Walker and the Gosnell workers that suffered mental illnesses are not alone. Watch for Part Two of this report on mental illness inside the abortion cartel.

Source Documents:

  • MDBP Interview with Walker, Aug. 23, 2010
  • Walker MDBP Final Decision and Order, Feb. 13, 2013
  • Walker Revocation Order, Dec. 30, 2013
  • Walker Autopsy Report, Jan. 15, 2014
  • Walker Obituary
  • Abortionist Involved in Patient Death Receives Inadequate Discipline to Protect the Public

    By Cheryl Sullenger

    Baltimore, MD — It was during an inspection conducted by the Maryland Department of Health on February 20, 2013, when it was discovered that patient Maria Santiago, 38, died during a 13-week abortion at the run-down Associates in OB/GYN Care, located on Baltimore’s Cheverly Road – shockingly situated inside a residential condominium complex.

    Three Maryland abortionists who worked at the seedy Baltimore clinic owned by the notorious late-term abortionist Steven Chase Brigham have received further discipline, but disturbingly, the one directly responsible for the abortion-related fatality has received the lightest sanctions.

    The abortionists Iris Dominy, Michael Basco, and Mansour Panah, were each involved in Brigham’s Baltimore Associates in OB/GYN Care abortion operation, which, along with three other affiliates, were closed last year by the state due to repeated violations that endangered the safety of women.

    Maria Santiago’s Death

    Abortionist Iris Dominy told a State inspector that the sedated Santiago had slept throughout her abortion. According to the deficiency report issued after the inspection, Dominy completed the abortion on the sleeping woman, then left the room. An unqualified worker was left alone with the patient. That worker occupied herself with filling out paperwork while the patient remained on the abortion table.

    Sometime later, the worker called for a second employee to help her dress the unconscious Santiago and move her to the recovery area. The second worker noticed that Santiago was pale and not breathing. Dominy was notified and returned to the procedure room where she sat the unconscious Santiago up and began a “sternum rub” instead of standard Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. No one at the clinic, including Dominy, had current CPR certification. A crash cart in the hallway was not used and the defibrillator was broken.

    Police report taken at the time of Santiago’s death. Click to view full document.

    Operation Rescue recently obtained documents showing that on October 15, 2013, the Maryland Board of Physicians (MDBP) issued only a reprimand to Dominy for negligence that resulted in Santiago’s death. Dominy was placed on probation only until 16 hours of continuing education classes in sedation and monitoring can be taken and verified. Dominy is also prohibited from administering sedation until the Board issues its specific approval, but is otherwise able to continue practicing medicine.

    “Considering that Dominy’s negligence cost one woman her life, a simple reprimand is completely inadequate. This just sends the message to abortion abusers that if they kill a woman during an abortion, it’s no big deal,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “But on the other hand, it is more discipline than LeRoy Carhart received for inflicting a fatal 33-week abortion on Jennifer Morbelli last year in Germantown. It is troubling how the Maryland Board of Physicians seems to shrug off abortion-related deaths as if the lives of these women mean nothing.”

    Meanwhile, Dominy’s two associates fared somewhat worse with the MDBP.

    Panah’s License Suspended

    Mansour Panah served as the Medical Director for Brigham’s now-shuttered Maryland abortion clinics and oversaw patient care. Initially, Panah’s medical license was suspended upon discovery of the dangerous conditions at Associates in OB/GYN Care, but his license was later reinstated. It was only when Panah failed to appear at his disciplinary hearing held on October 25, 2013, that the MDBP determined that the “public health, safety, or welfare imperatively required” that Panah’s license be summarily suspended — for the third time in his career — according to records recently obtained by Operation Rescue.

    Basco Barred in Four States

    Documents acquired recently by Operation Rescue show that third abortionist, Michael Basco, who also worked for Brigham’s Associates in OB/GYN Care in Maryland, has had his medical licenses suspended in California, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. pending the outcome of charges filed against him by the MDBP in July 2013. Operation Rescue had discovered that Basco was continuing to do abortions in Washington, D.C. after his Maryland license suspension and immediately notified D.C.’s medical board of Basco’s Maryland charges.

    Basco’s license in Maryland remains under suspension pending a final disposition of his case. Basco is accused of operating in conditions that violated health and safety standards and for allowing an unlicensed, unqualified worker to administer abortion drugs outside Basco’s presence to a woman he had never seen. After the abortion drugs were administered, Basco discovered the woman was 22 weeks pregnant with twins. Even though her abortion had already started, he refused to continue the procedure and essentially turned her adrift without any plan of action. The woman later submitted to a surgical abortion at another clinic unrelated to Brigham’s abortion business.

    “Anything less that total revocation of his medical license is unacceptable and would leave women’s lives at risk,” said Newman.

    Ineffectual Reprimand

    With the license suspensions of Panah and Basco, it is ironic that the abortionist directly responsible for the death of Maria Santiago, Iris Dominy, remains the only one of Brigham’s former Maryland abortionists that can still practice medicine.

    Factor in that late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart received no discipline whatsoever from the MDBP after his abandonment of Jennifer Morbelli delayed her access to emergency medical care, and it is easy to conclude that killing abortion patients is not a serious matter in Maryland. This does not sit well with Operation Rescue’s Newman.

    “It doesn’t make sense that one abortionist who failed to show up for a hearing is considered more of a public threat than abortionists who are responsible for killing women. It sends the wrong message to abortion cartel and lacks any deterrent value,” said Newman. “The Board has created a climate that guarantees more women will die from abortions in Maryland, and that runs counter to the duty of the Board to protect the public – not dangerous abortionists.”

    Head of the Snake

    Adding to the injustice is the fact that Dominy, Panah and Basco’s employer, Steven Chase Brigham, has completely escaped accountability for his fatal abortion business in Maryland. Since Brigham has never been licensed in Maryland, he is outside the MDBP’s authority to discipline.

    In 2010, Brigham was caught operating an illegal, secret late-term abortion clinic in Elkton, Maryland, after a patient nearly died from a perforated uterus and pulled bowel during a late-term abortion that had been illegal started in New Jersey and continued in Maryland. The MDBP issued Brigham a letter ordering him to cease and desist the unlicensed practice of medicine in Maryland. He was later charged with murder after police raided his Elkton clinic and discovered the bodies of 35 late-term aborted babies stored in a blood-soaked freezer. Regrettably, those charges were soon dropped after an expert witness withdrew from the case.

    The MDBP did revoke the license of Brigham’s Elkton associate, Nicola Riley, but that decision was not enough to convince her home state of Utah to take similar action. Riley continues to practice in Utah today.

    Brigham once held licenses in California, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. His New York license was revoked in 1994 after a series of horrifically botched abortions, and he either surrendered the remaining licenses (except in his home state of New Jersey) under threat of revocation or allowed them to expire. In New Jersey, Brigham’s sole remaining medical license remains under suspension. He faces multiple charges related to illegal abortions and deception, having submitted phony malpractice insurance documents to the state when in fact he was operating illegally without insurance.

    But it is doubtful that even license revocation would end Brigham’s abortion career or close his clinics.

    “Brigham has been able to successfully navigate within shadowy regulatory gaps to keep his shoddy abortion chain open and exploiting vulnerable women even though he no longer holds an active medical license in any state,” said Newman. “He does it through a series of shell companies operated in the names of his relatives. Brigham and the motley crew of abortionists Brigham employs have proven to be the bottom of the barrel, even among abortion providers. There is no way any of his abortion clinics should be allowed to stay open. The fact that they are shows how effectively he is able to manipulate the system, even while under the burden of a mountain of legal troubles.”

    While some states are starting to see through Brigham’s scams, he continues to operate a chain of 9 abortion clinics in New Jersey and Virginia. All abortion clinics even remotely related to him were shut down by authorities in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Nearly all the abortionists Brigham has had working for him have their own sordid histories of discipline, as detailed previously by Operation Rescue in an article published in November 2010.

    Regulators Fall Short

    However, often the reach of regulatory agencies falls short. In those cases, new laws with stiff criminal penalties may be the only solution to protecting the public. Abortionists that have had medical licenses revoked should not be allowed to hold interests in abortion businesses. Abortionists who operate illegally or deceptively should be jailed. Those who injure or kill patients should not be given second, third, and fourth chances. Licenses should be revoked and criminal penalties imposed in order to ensure that more women do not die. Enforcement duties should be turned over to the offices of local criminal prosecutors more often.

    “Brigham is the kind of man that never seems to learn his lesson from traditional discipline, except how to avoid getting caught the next time. In a lot of ways, ineffective discipline has only made him sneakier and more dangerous,” said Newman. “He has trained his associates to be just as negligent and crooked as he is. A good long stint in jail for him and his cohorts, such as Dominy, Panah, and Basco, who have engaged in gross abortion abuses resulting in patient injury or death, may be the only way to stop their incompetent and dangerous abortion practices from inflicting more human misery on the world.”