Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

3 Philly abortion clinics cited in 2010, records show

When they finally resumed routine inspections of abortion clinics last year after more than 15 years, Pennsylvania health regulators ordered 14 of the state's 22 clinics to remedy problems, a review of records shows.

Three of those 14 clinics were in Philadelphia. But none of the conditions found remotely approached the filthy, illegal operations at the now-shuttered Women's Medical Society clinic, presided over by Kermit Gosnell, who faces eight counts of murder.

The grand jury that investigated Gosnell, his wife and eight other clinic workers had scathing criticism last week for state health regulators for letting the squalor at the clinic, at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue, go unchecked for years.

It wasn't until after a drug raid last February of Gosnell's clinic that the state Health Department resumed regular abortion-clinic inspections. The grand jury said inspections had ended "sometime after 1993."

The most common recent deficiencies at the other abortion clinics, according to records obtained by the Associated Press, were failures to properly report medical conditions that qualify as "serious events" and not keeping resuscitation equipment readily available.

The Philadelphia clinics were cited for failures to test or record urine-protein and blood-sugar levels or for issues related to checking on patients after surgery in the recovery room.

Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania's clinic on Locust Street in Center City was cited in the fall by state health regulators for not checking six of 10 patients' vital signs every 15 minutes while those patients were recovering from anesthesia. Inspectors found that vital signs were checked about every 30 to 45 minutes.

Dayle Steinberg, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, said yesterday that the organization's clinics "maintain very strict policies and procedures" and that the matter has been corrected.

Inspectors at the office of Charles Benjamin, on West Tabor Road near Albert Einstein Medical Center, found that his clinic did not test urine-protein and blood-sugar levels before abortions.

Benjamin said yesterday that he wasn't previously aware that those tests were required and finds "no medical reason" to do so, but that he now performs those tests.

Regulators also found that some medical records did not have all the proper documentation, but Benjamin said this was a "charting" issue, in which "they wanted things recorded in a different way."

The Health Department inspection of Penn Family Care of the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania, at 39th and Market streets in University City, also indicated that tests of levels had not been performed. A Penn Medicine spokeswoman said in a statement yesterday that the issue was promptly corrected.

Daily News staff writer Julie Shaw contributed to this article.

Associated Press
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