By Cheryl Sullenger
Houston, Texas – Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen, sometimes referred to as the “Gosnell of Texas,” has been sued by a former abortion patient who alleges that he inflicted life-threatening injuries on her during a 23-week abortion then failed to inform her or send her for the emergency care and surgery she required.
Melanie Mendoza filed suit in Harris County Court on March 10, 2014, seeking unspecified damages after her horrific late-term abortion experience with Karpen on Valentine’s Day, 2013.
Operation Rescue obtained the court documents, which can be viewed at OperationRescue.org, that allege Karpen rushed through the late-term procedure, lacerating Mendoza’s uterus and creating a large T-shaped rupture that left her uterus open to the abdominal cavity.
It was among the worst injuries to the uterus that the Ob/Gyn treating Mendoza at the West Houston Medical Center “had ever seen or read about.”
Ms. Mendoza’s ordeal began on February 7, 2013, when she reported to Karpen’s Aaron Women’s Clinic in Houston where she was found to be 22 weeks pregnant at that time. She was told by the staff that such late-term abortion procedures were “low-risk,” post-abortion hemorrhage was less than after childbirth, and that it was “highly unlikely any uncomplicated or mid trimester abortion will cause a problem with infertility or future pregnancies.”
On February 14, Mendoza kept her abortion appointment at Karpen’s second abortion location, the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center, also in Houston, where over a dozen other women were waiting for abortions.
According to the complaint:
The Plaintiff watched as each young woman was called to go to the back. Finally, the Plaintiff was the only young woman left in the waiting area, and she remained there, alone, for some time after the last young woman had left, and the Plaintiff got the feeling she had been forgotten. Finally, a nurse came to the waiting area and appeared to be surprised the Plaintiff was still there. From that moment, everything thereafter appeared to be rushed.
During the now 23-week abortion, Karpen’s alleged negligence was responsible for the grossly ruptured uterus, partial laceration of the broad uterine ligament, and heavy internal bleeding. It appears Karpen never tried to repair the rupture and sent Mendoza home under the impression that the surgery had been uneventful.
The next day, experiencing intense pain, Mendoza made her way to the West Houston Medical Center emergency room where a CT Scan revealed her ruptured uterus and massive internal bleeding. Mendoza was rushed into emergency surgery. Her injuries were so severe that she can never have another child since doctors now believe she would “be in extreme danger” if she were ever to become pregnant again. She was only 20 years old at the time of her abortion.
Had Ms. Mendoza delayed seeking emergency care, hospital staff believe she would have died from her injuries.
Last year, Operation Rescue obtained information provided by three former Karpen employees, who first came to Operation Rescue in an attempt to blow the whistle on their former boss. Allegations made by the informants included illegal late-term abortion and the killing of babies born alive during late-term abortions among other violations.
Later, the women went public in a report released by Operation Rescue and in an interview recorded by Life Dynamics, Inc. at Operation Rescue’s request.
The informants indicated that Karpen would often seriously injure women during abortions then not tell them. The women would be released from Karpen’s abortion facilities without ever knowing that they had suffered injuries that required additional care.
These allegations are identical to Mendoza’s claims.
Deborah Edge, a former Karpen employee told Life Dynamics, Inc. during the interview, “There was a lot of things – I mean – from with these large abortions, these botched abortions that he was doing – to hurting the patients on the table, to causing some kind of major problem . . . [like] ripping a uterus and not letting the patients know. Trying to stitch them back together and send them home with a package of gauze and then they come back tomorrow so you could pull it out. But never telling the woman, you know, ‘Hey, I ripped your cervix…You need to get that looked at.’ He would never tell the woman.”
“Ms. Mendez’s law suit alleges that Karpen seriously injured her during a late-term abortion and then never told her she was injured. This is exactly the same allegation made to us by three former Karpen employees, who also provided us with photographic evidence that Karpen was murdering babies born alive in a similar way that Kermit Gosnell did,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.
“Now that Ms. Mendoza’s lawsuit has corroborated this part of our informant’s allegations, we believe their other allegations now have more credibility. We are calling on authorities such as the Texas Medical Board to reopen investigations into Karpen’s practices and take emergency action to prevent him from inflicting harm on anyone else.”
Operation Rescue obtained photographic evidence supplied by three former employees of Karpen’s depicting the gruesome remains of very late-term babies that had been aborted by Karpen in 2012. The babies had cuts in their necks from ear to ear, injuries that could not have been done inside the uterus. The three former employees told Operation Rescue that the babies had been born alive, then killed in acts very similar to those committed by convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia.
But before the whistleblowers’ accusations hit the public, Operation Rescue submitted a complaint to the Texas Medical Board supported by affidavits from the clinic workers and other evidence, including the photos, but the TMB dismissed the complaint on February 8, 2013, noting that Karpen had done “nothing improper.”
“Less than a week after the TMB penned the ‘cover-up’ letter telling us that Karpen did nothing wrong, Ms. Mendoza was in the hospital getting emergency surgery in order to save her life from horrifying injuries she says Karpen inflicted upon her,” said Newman. “We just have to wonder how many more women will suffer or even die before the TMB and other officials stop protecting this dangerous man.”
In May, on the heals of the conviction of Kermit Gosnell on three counts of First Degree Murder for killing born-alive babies, Operation Rescue went public with the information garnered from the Karpen informants and posted the photos depicting the two aborted babies for the public to evaluate for themselves, then filed formal complaints with the Texas Attorney General’s office and Harris County District Attorney seeking a criminal investigation.
This prompted a Harris County grand jury to take up the Karpen case, but it suspiciously failed to indict him. Operation Rescue has reason to believe that the grand jury was never presented with all of the evidence in the case and that the testimony of the informants was cast as not being credible.
Newman believes that the Mendoza lawsuit changes that.
“The allegations in the Mendoza case gives new credibility to Deborah Edge’s testimony and that of the other former Karpen employees. We believe these women, who courageously faced often vicious attacks on their character, have been vindicated by Mendoza’s experience,” said Newman. “The Mendoza allegations are serious enough that is would be negligent if Texas Medical Board and other authorities don’t take a second look at Karpen.”
Read Mendoza v. Karpen, Harris County Case No. 666364