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Prosecutors: Pennsylvania doctor killed patient, babies in clinic

An elderly Pennsylvania doctor is facing a murder trial and a federal drug trial for killing seven babies and one abortion clinic patient. Criminal medical malpractice charges include allowing unqualified employees to perform medical duties and using the abortion clinic as a painkiller pill mill.

Medical negligence was standard operating procedure, according to prosecutors, who said the 71-year-old's Philadelphia clinic was unsanitary and dangerous.

One of the doctor's former employees provided grand jury testimony that said she received 15 minutes of anesthesia training before being placed on duty. The fear of harming a patient caused the clinic worker to lose sleep. The employee's apprehension continued to build. She fled from the clinic 20 years ago after refusing to follow the doctor's orders to medicate 15 females patients.

Nine employees at the clinic were arrested with the doctor. Among them was the doctor's wife, a cosmetician charged with performing a late-term abortion.

Other workers have already pleaded guilty to third-degree murder charges for their complicity in the late-term murders of seven babies, who allegedly were killed with scissors after being born alive. The accused clinic employees have agreed to testify for the state.

The elderly West Philadelphia physician is additionally charged with overdosing and killing a 41-year-old patient during an abortion in 2009.

Federal drug charges allege the doctor trafficked prescriptions drugs. Court documents say the doctor ordered his workers to write thousands of monthly prescriptions for controlled substances, including OxyContin. His alleged drug profits exceeded $200,000.

Prosecutors are pushing to include evidence about the unqualified clinic workers and pill mill accusations in the murder trial set for March. Trial evidence arguments are set for the end of October. The separate federal drug trial has not been scheduled.

Physicians who perform illegal, life-threatening procedures commit an egregious act of willful medical malpractice. Criminal and civil laws allow victims to seek justice and compensation for these flagrant violations of safe and responsible medical practices.

Source: boston.com, "Officials: Pa. abortion clinic deaths no accident," Maryclaire Dale, Aug. 13, 2012

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