For three decades, Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania operated a clinic that specialized in illegal late term abortions. His methods for ensuring babies were dead involved sticking a pair of scissors into the back of their necks to cut their spinal cords. His employees often had expired credentials, or none at all. He even hired the teenage daughter of one of his employees to perform medical work at his clinic, which included administering drugs to patients. When the clinic was finally raided after Gosnell turned to prescribing an inordinate amount of pills, authorities found that it was filthy, with cats roaming the halls, blood stains on the floor, and outdated, rusty equipment.
The case is tragic for the women involved. They sought safe abortions and instead were treated horribly by Gosnell and his staff. The fake doctor's unsafe practices lead to the deaths of at least two women, and he was convicted in the deaths of three babies born alive, although there are likely many more. These facts about the crimes committed by Kermit Gosnell are incredibly disturbing.
On February 18th, 2010, the FBI raided Gosnell’s Philadelphia Clinic. The clinic smelled strongly of urine, and the raid uncovered a number of atrocities including rusty, outdated medical equipment, blood-stained blankets, a flea-infested cat, animal feces in the stairwell, and no functioning resuscitation or monitoring equipment. Investigators also discovered fetal remains stored in "bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat food containers."
Latosha Lewis testified that Gosnell performed abortions of fetuses beyond 24 weeks in gestational age "too much to count." Investigators estimate that he performed "four or five illegal abortions every week." In a typical abortion past 24 weeks, Gosnell administered labor-inducing drugs to his patient. When the baby was born, Gosnell stuck scissors into the back of the baby's neck and cut the spinal cord, which he called "snipping." One mother was 30 weeks pregnant when he delivered the baby, snipped the spinal cord, and placed the body in a plastic shoebox. Gosnell then joked that the baby was so big he could "walk [Gosnell] to the bus stop." Untrained assistants and administrative staff also severed baby's spinal cords if Gosnell wasn't available. The office destroyed most records of these abortions, and only a few cases could be documented.
In 2009, Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee from Nepal, visited the clinic for a late-term abortion. Lynda Williams was the nurse responsible for administering anesthesia. Williams had an 8th grade education and a Phlebotomy Certification to draw blood. Shortly after the procedure started, Mongar indicated that she was in pain. Williams administered a second round of local anesthesia. Mongar's pain turned severe, and Williams didn't want to consult Gosnell again, so she administered a half dose of anesthesia. The pain still didn't subside, so Williams consulted Gosnell, and he instructed her to give the patient even more anesthesia. It was on her fourth dose that Mongar stopped breathing, and her skin began to turn gray.
After Gosnell finished the procedure, he ordered Williams to call 911 while he performed CPR. The defibrillator was broken, and Gosnell never administered emergency drugs that may have restarted Mongar's heart. After staff called paramedics, they set up machinery and arranged her body to look like a safe and legal procedure. The hallways were cluttered, and the emergency door was padlocked, so it took paramedics twenty minutes to extract Mongar from the hospital. Mongar died on scene. Staff lied about how much anesthesia Mongar received and who administered the drug. Her autopsy revealed that she overdosed on Demerol, a pain killer. Initially, Mongar’s death certificate stated that she died of an accidental overdose, which was changed to homicide in December 2010 when the coroner received information about Gosnell and the deplorable state of his clinic.
Another woman, 22-year-old Semika Shaw, died of sepsis in 2002 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania after a visit to Gosnell's clinic left her with a perforated uterus and cervix. Her family was among 46 who have sued the clinic for malpractice. They were paid a $1 million settlement.
Abortion is illegal after 24 weeks in the state of Pennsylvania. An employee of Gosnell’s clinic estimated that 40 percent of the abortions he conducted were 24.5 weeks or later. Staff with no medical training administered labor-inducing drugs to patients. Women would then gave birth into a toilet, where the fetus would be "fished out...so as not to clog the plumbing."
Many of the aborted babies were born alive and Gosnell took no issue with conducting what he described as “fetal demise”, a process where he would force scissors into the back of the baby’s neck, cutting the spinal cord. His staff was unlicensed and unqualified to perform the medical procedures Gosnell hired them for. There were about four to five illegal abortions at the clinic each week.