Dr. Gosnell and William Saletan: Bad Medicine

18 Feb

Kermit Gosnell was a bad doctor.  He practiced outside the scope of his capabilities, employed unqualified staff, did not appropriately dispose of medical waste and failed to use aseptic technique.

Unfortunately, there are other bad doctors out there.  Lots of them. On February 17, 2011, Dr. Rey Bello of New Jersey surrendered his medical license for performing unnecessary tests, fraudulent billing, and incompetence.    Dr. Conrad Murray will soon go on trial for his role in the death of Michael Jackson; his alleged activities include administering IV narcotics and medications used only in surgery. Dr. Hellfried Sartori has a near 30-year record of using dangerous, ineffective treatments all over the world despite multiple revocations of his license to practice medicine.  Delaware pediatrician Dr Earl Bradley was indicted last year for sexual abuse of over 100 children.

The good news is that although there are a few bad doctors out there, there are a lot of great ones.  My colleagues and I are kind, caring, sensitive, and so devoted to taking the best possible care of our patients that we literally will reach out to people from all over the country for help if we encounter any unfamiliar scenario.  We go to medical conferences several times a year and spend hours every week reading medical journals to make sure we are on top of the latest research.  We study every aspect of abortion provision to continuously improve our services, from the experience in the waiting room to the best way to provide follow up care.  We go to bat for our patients both in the exam room and on Capitol Hill, and are involved in regulatory efforts on both local and national levels to improve access to family planning services.

William Saletan described what he deems a similar situation to the fiasco surrounding Dr Gosnell in Florida 20 years ago, and comes to the conclusion that physicians were complicit because they were too afraid to point out unsafe conditions at an abortion clinic:

“As little as the good providers trusted the bad ones, they trusted the government less. Nothing would make them break their silence. Not even a woman’s death.”

The suggestion that any of us would not act on the knowledge of a doctor providing dangerous care is insulting to us all.  We work tirelessly to make sure all women have access to safe abortion care. We are anything but silent in the face of the many challenges women face and we expect all abortion clinics to provide the highest quality of care to everyone.

Our patients trust us, as should Mr. Saletan.

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