Mark Greenwald and Charles Hartwell were not the only prosecuting attorneys at Pennsylvania’s Department of State (DOS) to close cases against Kermit Gosnell without a proper investigation. The grand jury found David Grubb and William Newport closed two cases despite overwhelming evidence that would likely have justified shutting down Gosnell’s clinic.
A plaintiff’s attorney filed a malpractice complaint against Gosnell in September 2005 for a patient the grand jury called “Alice.” She told the staff she was undergoing methadone treatment and already received her dosage. Methadone treatment is one way for a person to overcome an opiate addiction. A simple Google search shows that a person on methadone treatment needs to receive different anesthesia, but Gosnell gave her the wrong medication. The grand jury describes what happened to Alice:
According to the complaint, Alice told Gosnell to stop the medication when she started to have a reaction, but Gosnell ignored her and continued the IV injection. Alice began to convulse and fell off of the procedure table, striking her head. A companion who had accompanied Alice to the clinic was summoned to the procedure room to assist. He found the patient naked and convulsing on the floor and asked that someone call 911.
When Gosnell denied his request, the companion attempted to leave the clinic to summon help. The complaint alleges that the doors were locked and the staff refused to let him out. As a result, Alice convulsed for an hour while Gosnell and the staff refused to allow her companion to leave the clinic to get help. Finally, Gosnell permitted the companion to go get some methadone to administer. The additional methadone stopped the convulsions.
Almost a year later, on May 4, 2006, Grubb decided to close the case. He never interviewed Alice, her friend, Gosnell, or the staff. The plaintiff’s attorney told Grubb that Gosnell was probably not insured because Gosnell answered the complaint himself without a lawyer. If a doctor were insured he would answer a complaint with the benefit of a lawyer. Grubb told Gosnell the case was closed and thanked him for giving a copy of the complaint to the department. But the only complaint on file was the one from the plaintiff’s attorney. The grand jury concluded that Gosnell violated the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund’s (MCARE) law because he did not report Alice’s lawsuit.
The grand jury found out through documents Grubb could have easily found out Gosnell was not insured. It turns out Grubb’s colleague Prosecuting Attorney William Newport at the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs had a Gosnell complaint over lack of insurance. On August 2, 2005 a coordinator from MCARE Fund told the DOS Gosnell did not have insurance. Newport wrote to Gosnell in September 2005 and July 2006 and asked him to respond to the complaint. His agent finally responded and said Gosnell was insured 1998-2003. A paralegal kept checking with coordinators at the MCARE Fund for two years if Gosnell was complaint and the answer was always no. Despite this the file was closed on September 5, 2008.
The grand jury had no problem finding concrete evidence against Gosnell.
Had Newport conducted a real investigation, or subpoenaed documents, he would have discovered what Sherilyn Gillespie, the Department of State investigator, found out in 2010 – that Gosnell was not insured at all between July 15, 2004, and April 18, 2005. Thus, had either of two Board of Medicine prosecutors investigated the complaint made by Alice’s attorney, they would have discovered Gosnell’s blatant violation of the MCARE law. They would have learned, as Gillespie did in May 2010, that Gosnell was operating without insurance when Alice had gone to him for an abortion in March 2005, and that Gosnell had told his insurance agent that he was practicing only in Delaware at the time Alice had her seizure at his clinic.
This would have been another ideal opportunity to shut down Gosnell’s clinic. After all, in November 2009, Karnamaya Mongar died at Gosnell’s clinic, a year after Grubb and Newport closed their files.