By Cheryl Sullenger
Frederick, Maryland – You walk into a medical office, but almost immediately something doesn’t seem quite right. Later you learn that poorly trained staff conducted faulty ultrasounds, filed negligent result reports, and injected you with cut-rate drugs that most legitimate doctors refuse to use due to unacceptably high risks. Then you find out that when you were told more efficient drugs weren’t available in the U.S., it was an outright lie.
Such betrayal and more is experienced daily by women who are lured into Steven Chase Brigham’s American’s Women’s Services abortion facilities. But for one woman, the consequences of Brigham’s substandard staff, policies, and practices will impact her world, and that of her son, for the rest of their lives.
Court documents obtained by Operation Rescue show that abortionist Steven Chase Brigham and his associates Vikram Kaji and Mansour Panah have been hit with a default judgement of $6.5 million in a malpractice case involving a failed methotrexate abortion on Christy O’Connell.
While that may sound like a lot of money, the cost of providing life-time care for her son, which was severely disabled by the abortion drug Methotrexate, will be at least that, or more.
When O’Connell first filed her civil suit in Federal Court, Brigham, Kaji, and Panah never bothered to hire attorneys or respond to the complaint. They simply ignored it and allowed it to default.
Iris Dominy, who actually conducted the methotrexate abortion on Christy O’Connell in July 2012, at Brigham’s “Frederick Primary Care,” also known as American Women’s Services in Frederick, Maryland, was not listed on the default judgement and was the only one of the defendants represented by counsel. However, that does not mean she is any more competent than the rest, as an expert witness report and deposition in this case notes.
“Brigham and his associates, Kaji, Panah, and Dominy are among the worst of the worst and pose a very real danger to the public. It is beyond any reason that Brigham is allowed to continue running his abortion businesses,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “States have been far too lenient for far too long. Their leniency has enabled Brigham and his lackeys to continue their reign of terror over women who are injured, exploited, and abused while their babies are killed or maimed.”
Operation Rescue reported on this Federal civil case in March 2016, focusing on the corners-cutting and dangerous aspects of the use of methotrexate in abortions, which is known to fail in 1 out of 5 cases. It is used by the most disreputable abortion providers, such as Brigham and his cohorts, to cut costs and increase profits at the expense of the life and health of their patients. [Read that full report.]
The court case focused on who was ultimately culpable for O’Donnell’s failed abortion. The plaintiff presented expert testimony from low-volume abortion provider, Daniel Small, MD, to show that Brigham, Kaji and Panah were primarily responsible and that Dominy, while certainly not blameless, followed protocols set up by them, her employers.
Each of the four abortionists have abysmal track records:
• Brigham, a discredited abortionist with revoked medical licenses in every state he has ever held one, is the owner of the American Women’s Services, including the Frederick, Maryland, facility where Dominy administered the abortion medication. He was ultimately responsible as the owner of the business, even though he often attempts to conceal his ownership and his culpability in order to keep his second-rate business afloat and his money stream intact.
• Kaji, is an 80-year old abortionist with a lengthy disciplinary record — including numerous sexual offenses — who serves as Medical Director for all 14 abortion facilities in the American Women’s Services chain.
• Panah served as the Medical Director of Brigham’s four Maryland abortion facilities at the time of O’Donnell’s ordeal.
• Dominy worked at Brigham’s Maryland abortion facilities and answered to Brigham, Kaji, and Panah. She was thus employed when the surgical licenses of all four clinics were revoked after inspectors uncovered evidence of dangerous abortion practices and a patient death.
O’Connell’s expert witness, obstetrician and gynecologist Daniel Small, notes in his deposition (worth the read) and report that it is his opinion that Brigham and Kaji violated the standard of care by implementing dangerously substandard policies.
For example, office managers with no formal training in ultrasonography were tasked with performing and reading ultrasound examinations. Dominy never looked at the pictures captured during the ultrasound examinations, but relied solely on the unskilled conclusions of the office manager.
Small noted in his report that the practice of using unqualified office managers to perform and interpret ultrasound results without requiring the physicians to approve them resulted in Dominy failing to realize that the attempted methotrexate abortion had failed and that O’Connell was still pregnant with a baby who was now 10.5-11.5 weeks gestation.
Small stated he believed that “the combination of methotrexate and misoprostol is not sufficiently effective in inducing a complete abortion in women who are approximately 8 weeks pregnant.”
Lying to Women
O’Connell was told that mifepristone, also known as the RU486 abortion pill, which has a higher rate of success, was not available in the United States, leaving O’Connell to believe that methotrexate with its abysmally low efficacy rate was her only medication option for abortion. This deception, according to Small, violated her ability to make informed consent.
Panah was Dominy’s immediate supervisor in Frederick and was therefore responsible for ensuring company policies were enforced. He is a prime example of the type of otherwise unemployable and desperate abortionists that Brigham seeks out to manage his abortion facilities, since no reputable physician would ever work for him.
Panah was a frightening bottom-of-the-barrel provider. He was disciplined in 1988 for sexually assaulting one patient, and sedating and raping another. Then in 1995, he was suspended for 30 days, fined, and placed on probation for sexually abusing more patients. Nevertheless, he was showed leniency and his medical license was restored. In 2011, he was again placed on probation for patient care issues.
In 2013, Panah’s license was suspended then restored after licensing inspectors discovered that his employee, Iris Dominy, severely botched an abortion that killed Maria Santiago.
Dominy was not certified in CPR at that time and failed to use a defibrillator on Santiago, who suffered cardiac arrest. Inspectors later discovered that the defibrillator did not work and staff had not been trained in its use. Disgracefully, Dominy received only a reprimand for her fatal negligence.
Short time later, Maryland revoked the surgical facility licenses for all of Brigham’s Maryland abortion business, but not because of Santiago’s death. The licenses were revoked due to the misuse of methotrexate. Women were made to drink the drug, which was supposed to be administered through injections only. Because of that practice, the state found the facilities too dangerous and unqualified for licensing.
It is no small irony that once Brigham’s Maryland facilities lost their surgical licenses in 2013, they quietly reopened offering the very same abortion drug that made them unfit for licensure!
In October 2013, Panah failed to appear for a disciplinary and once again had his medical license suspended. A year later, he finally surrendered his license to avoid the expense of the disciplinary action, which he was sure to lose.
Since his license surrender, Panah has been reported missing on April 26, 2014, and again on January 19, 2015, prompting the issuance of “Silver Alerts” in Maryland. Both times, he eventually turned up, but his mysterious disappearances leave questions about the stability of his mental state.
While Kaji is the medical director of Brigham’s disreputable abortion empire, he is a pawn used by Brigham to satisfy certain legal requirements, especially in New Jersey where medical facility owners must be licensed physicians. Kaji is cut from the same cloth as Panah, and has been disciplined for sexual offenses against his patients as well as patient care issues.
Last year, Operation Rescue filed a complaint with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office challenging the transfer of ownership to Brigham’s New Jersey abortion facilities to Kaji after Brigham’s New Jersey medical license was revoked. Instead, Operation Rescue argued that Kaji was unfit to execute his duties as the owner of a large abortion chain, given his checkered disciplinary history, and sought the closure of the New Jersey abortion facilities since they are not in compliance with the law.
Brigham recently reorganized and launched a corporation that would allow him to provide administrative duties for the New Jersey clinics, but the Attorney General’s office has disallowed that arrangement because it left Brigham still in control.
“We are arguing that the transfer of ownership was a sham and that through the management services agreement, Brigham is still exerting control over the practice that ought to be exercised by an owner,” said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, according to a recent news report.
Now Kaji faces yet another disciplinary hearing on September 12-13, 2016, in New Jersey where he could lose his medical license due to his sketchy business relationship with Brigham and his substandard medical practices. It is unknown how the default judgment in the O’Connell case will impact that hearing.
If Kaji were to lose his New Jersey Medical License, it is likely that Maryland and others could follow suit. That would leave Brigham without any licensee under his control that could feign ownership of American Women’s Services on paper in order to satisfy New Jersey regulations.
Shell Game with a House of Cards
It is possible that Brigham’s abortion house of cards could finally tumble down. Without a licensee as owner of American Women Services, the eight New Jersey locations should be forced to close. That would represent a great victory for women and babies.
Brigham is appealing his New Jersey license revocation, but it does not appear the Attorney General’s office is in any hurry set a hearing for that appeal. In the meantime, Brigham still owes the over a half-million dollars to the state in fines.
Bankruptcy documents filed in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Maryland on May 12, 2016, months before the default judgement, also show that Brigham is playing a complex shell game in order compensate himself for several abortion clinic failures in recent months that have severely impacted his income.
Those documents show that Brigham, who owns multiple business entities and is always creating more, lists two of his own corporations as creditors when he filed for Chapter 11 protection for his Advanced Professional Care,LLC. One is Integrity Medical Care, LLC, which operates one an abortion business in Pensacola, Florida, and Advanced Professional Services, Inc., a known Brigham entity. Between the two, they account for more than half of the debt Brigham is seeking to reorganize.
“It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Newman. “His financial dealings are just as disreputable as his abortion practices.”
Brigham’s abortion facility in Fairfax, Virginia, was shut down by the state earlier this year for repeated health and safety deficiencies. Last year, another in Wilmington, Delaware, was forced to halt surgical abortions, the majority of that facility’s income, and is now doing only medication abortions. Another setback for Brigham came when an illegal abortion facility he was operating in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was forced to close.
Brigham has also shuttered his Paramus, New Jersey, abortion facility along with three locations in Maryland, including the Frederick facility where Christy O’Connell had her failed methotrexate abortion.
Just after the default judgement was entered in the O’Connell case, Brigham also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for his Abortion Center of Englewood, which is $51,847 behind on rent with eviction proceedings in progress.
But before there can be too much celebrating, an attorney representing the Abortion Center of Englewood, Donald T. Bonomo, told a news organization that the facility “will continue to operate” during the Chapter 11 reorganization.
In the meantime, at Brigham’s 12 remaining abortion facilities in five states, women who are unaware of just how bad things are at American Women’s Services continue to seek substandard abortions from his shameful corners-cutting abortion businesses.
“I have no doubt that Brigham will survive this scandal as he has all the others over his three decades of quackery, exploitation, and killing – unless he is criminally charged and incarcerated. He is one of the most devious abortionists we have ever encountered, and the only way to stop him and his cohorts from committing further atrocities against women and their babies is to lock them all up and throw away the key,” said Newman.