In addition testimony of staff of the center discloses tales of dirty instruments being used repeatedly without sanitation in between each use. There are tales of unlicensed staff not only performing abortions, but administering anesthesia to knock the woman out. They described incidences of fudging ultra sounds to disguise the gestational age of the baby and storage of aborted babies body parts on shelves and in refrigerators where staff kept their meals. Pictures from the “house of horrors” as Gosnell’s facility has been dubbed, showed operating tables with tears in them, rusted in part, surrounded by blood caked medical instruments. These reports are particularly disturbing because they are eerily similar to reports we are hearing in Georgia. However, we cannot tell you for sure what is true because the state of Georgia has taken no steps to enforce the laws on the books with regard to ambulatory surgical centers in this state. Nor has the state taken steps to shut down abortion centers when reported violations are found in one of only six licensed abortion facilities (the remaining twelve centers are unlicensed).
In Georgia, former staff of one abortion center described the reuse of instruments that had been soaked in a solution so many times that they were now straight rather than curved as they were when taken out if its packaging. These instruments, they report, should have only been used one time and the abortion center experienced a rash of staph infections that disappeared when the practice was stopped for a short period of time. They described tables that were duct taped and sometimes blood caked because they were not sanitized. Another center acknowledged to the state they were not sterilizing instruments according to their own protocol, much less to a medical standard that ensured sterilization. This facility in a follow up visit by the state, documented they performed thirty-five procedures in one six hour period, again demonstrating a failure to sterilize the operating arena between each procedure. State documents cite building code violations, including lack of a sprinkler system in a building where abortions are performed on the second floor.
Some unlicensed staff explained though they were only trained as medical technicians, they performed sonograms. Unlicensed staff routinely administered anesthesia, including propfol (the drug that killed Michael Jackson) to patients. Another report is that linen used during the surgical procedure usually are re-used and only laundered at the end of the week when staff took them home. Two abortionists were cited by the state - one for failing to meet normal standards of medical care when performing an abortion on a woman whose blood iron count was so low she should have received transfusions, and the other for performing second trimester abortions in an unlicensed facility. Both these abortionists only paid a nominal fine that in no way measured up to the harm inflicted.
The horror in Georgia is that twelve abortion centers have almost no government oversight and do not meet the Department of Community Health published regulations for ambulatory surgical centers (the Department of Community Health’s Rule 290-5-33-01 defines an “ambulatory surgical treatment centers” in this way: any institution, building or facility or part thereof devoted primarily to the provision of surgical treatment to patients not requiring hospitalization, as provided under provisions of GA Code Section 88-1901). These centers have not been inspected nor provided standards to minimize injuries to patients. The six that are licensed are not inspected routinely and when the Department of Community Health does inspect and finds violations, there are no legal ramifications for the violators.
A Pennsylvania employee, when testifying reported that “ Under Governor Robert Casey, … the department inspected abortion facilities annually. Yet, when Governor Tom Ridge came in, the attorneys interpreted the same regulations that had permitted annual inspections for years to no longer authorize those inspections. Then, only complaint driven inspections supposedly were authorized. Staloski said that DOH’s policy during Governor Ridge’s administration was motivated by a desire not to be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions” http://bit.ly/10p91Dh. With all my heart I hope that this is not the stance of Governor Deal. I have reported before that Governor Deal’s spokesperson stated he is fully aware of our concerns. Yet he has taken no visible action to bring Georgia’s abortion centers into compliance with the laws that have been on the books for decades. I can only pray that he will soon be spurred into action so that none of the abortion centers here will grow to the level of horror of that center in Pennsylvania.