W. Phila. abortion doctor defends his practice

The "externs" on this sign Women's Medical Society at 38th and Lancaster aren't licensed medical doctors, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Kermit Gosnell, the doctor whose West Philadelphia abortion clinic was shut down this week as a "clear danger to the public," made his first public comment on the matter Thursday night, telling Fox 29 News that he had provided good care to his patients.

"It's been a very difficult time," Gosnell said. "But I know I have done my best to provide the very best care to my patients.

"I provide the same care I would want my daughter to receive," he said.

The state Board of Medicine suspended Gosnell's license on Monday, saying his clinic had "deplorable and unsanitary conditions" such as blood on the floor and fetuses in jars. The order also said an unlicensed employee gave prescription painkillers to patients, including one who developed a fatal arrhythmia in November after being given multiple doses.

Gosnell, 69, is being investigated by federal drug agents on suspicion of illegal distribution of prescription painkillers. He has not been charged.

In the interview, Gosnell - who has been sued 46 times since 1981, including 10 malpractice complaints - said he had not "seen any comment that a patient has been dissatisfied with the services I provide."

He said he could not control "how people perceive" his "accomplishments."

In 1972, Gosnell made headlines after he used an experimental abortion-inducing device similar to an IUD on 15 women, nine of whom developed serious complications.

In the TV interview, he acknowledged he had "lived through negative publicity before" and had to defend his skills and choices.

"If you're not making mistakes, you're not really attempting to do something," he said.


Contact staff writer Marie McCullough at 215-854-2720 or mmcullough@phillynews.com.