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Abortionist Involved in Woman's Death Awaits Word on Medical License

Jun 30, 2003 | www.CNSNews.com A Los Angeles abortionist involved in the botched procedure that allegedly led to the death of a 25-year-old mother of two is still waiting to hear whether his medical license will be yanked by the Medical Board of California nearly a year and a half after the woman's death.

Candace Cohen, spokeswoman for the medical board, refused to discuss specifics of the case or when the board might decide the fate of abortionist Mark Maltzer. She did say the board could decide to revoke Maltzer's license, suspend him or clear him of any wrongdoing.

A wrongful death lawsuit has also been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Maltzer and the Planned Parenthood clinic where Maltzer performed the abortion on Diana Lopez Feb. 27, 2002.

The California Department of Health Services (CDHS) last month issued its report dealing with the clinic's health code violations. Since the release of the report, the clinic has addressed the deficiencies, according to the CDHS, and no further action is planned.

Lopez went to the clinic for what was to be a two-day dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure to terminate her pregnancy of 18 weeks. According to CDHS findings, Lopez developed post-operative bleeding a day later, was rushed to a hospital and died later on Feb. 28.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office concluded that the cause of death was a hemorrhage due to "traumatic anterior cervical perforation" while Lopez underwent the D&E procedure. In simpler form, she bled to death due to a punctured cervix.

Maltzer and Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles referred comment to their attorney, Gary Fields, who refused to discuss the case.

The National Abortion Federation (NAF) maintains that abortion is one of the safest and most common surgical procedures, also that "perforation of the wall of the uterus occurs in less than 1/2 of one percent of cases."

The California Department of Health Services, in its May 21 report, cited the Planned Parenthood clinic for:

-- Failing to institute a necessary change in medical protocol relating to the use of laminaria (used to expand the cervix) in the dilation and evacuation procedure.

-- Lacking the evidence to show a completed assessment of the competency and credentials of the physician who carried out the abortion.

-- Inadequately advising against a potentially dangerous second-trimester D&E procedure based on low hemoglobin levels.

-- Failing to follow proper surgical abortion policy and procedure by administering Cytotec to the patient on day one of the two-day abortion procedure, when policy requires it to be administered 90 minutes before the abortion procedure.

-- Failing to inform Planned Parenthood's governing body of any adverse outcome related to patient care within the facility.

-- Failing to notify the Health Department of a patient's death within 24 hours of the occurrence.

-- Keeping incomplete records describing the services provided to Lopez.

The findings worry those who see the Lopez case as an example of the inconsistent medical guidelines and poor physician care at abortion clinics.

"Abortion by its nature does not attract the best practitioners," said Mark Krutcher, founder and president of Life Dynamics, a Texas pro-life organization that emphasizes the use of malpractice suits in its fight against abortion clinics.

Planned Parenthood claims abortion is less threatening than childbirth. The group's website claims death occurs in "one of 100,000 abortions," while "childbirth carries seven times more risk."

But Krutcher said Planned Parenthood's statistics are misleading.

"Prior to 16 weeks, an abortion is safer than childbirth," Krutcher admitted. "After 16 weeks, child birth is safer," he added. "If you look at the data from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] or from all the medical research that has been done, that's what it consistently shows."

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