Trial set in abortion homicide case

Trial set for Mass. doc in abortion patient death
By DENISE LAVOIE 2:38 PM 09/12/2010

BOSTON (AP) — Laura Hope Smith was 22 years old and 13 weeks pregnant when she went to see a Cape Cod doctor for an abortion. She was pronounced dead later that day.
Prosecutors charged the doctor with manslaughter, alleging that he failed to monitor her while she was under anesthesia, delayed calling 911 when she went into cardiopulmonary arrest, and later lied to try to cover up his actions.

Dr. Rapin Osathanondh, an obstetrician who was also a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, goes on trial Monday in Barnstable Superior Court. The trial begins on the third anniversary of Smith’s death.

Experts say it’s unusual for a doctor accused of negligence to be charged criminally. Most cases are handled through lawsuits in civil court.

“Civilly, you only need — for a doctor to be held accountable — evidence that he was careless and negligent in his care,” said Andrew Meyer, a Boston attorney who specializes in medical malpractice cases.

“That would not normally be enough for a prosecutor to bring a criminal action. However, the more extreme the action, the more extraordinary the negligence, the more likely it is that it may cross over that line where it also becomes criminal.

Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, whose office is prosecuting Osathanondh, would not discuss the case right before trial, but after Osathanondh was indicted in 2008, O’Keefe called his conduct “willful, wanton and reckless.”

Osathanondh, 67, resigned his medical license the same day the state Board of Registration in Medicine issued a scathing list of charges against him, alleging that he had “engaged in conduct that calls into question his competence to practice medicine.”

The board said Osathanondh did not have any means of monitoring Smith’s heart, and did not have oxygen or a functioning blood pressure cuff in the room during Smith’s abortion. The board also alleged that he “failed to adhere to basic cardiac life support protocol” and did not call 911 in a timely manner.

Osathanondh was also accused of deceiving staff members by claiming he gave Smith oxygen during the procedure and by saying that Smith was monitored by a pulse oximeter during her procedure. Neither step was taken, the board said.

2008 News Story:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

911 Call Regarding Abortion Death of Laura Smit…, posted with vodpod

Here is the actual 911 call from the abortion clinic –

More Information here

911 Call in Death of Laura Smith

Transcript here

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more about "Abortion doctor pleads guilty in pati…", posted with vodpod

(Brad Puffer, NECN) – A Cape Cod Doctor accused of manslaughter after a patient who came in for an abortion died, pleaded not guilty Thursday in court. Dr. Rapin Osathanondh was arraigned Thursday in Barnstable Superior Court. He was released on personal recognizance after surrendering his passport. Prosecutors say the 22-year-old Laura Smith’s heart stopped last September while she was under anesthesia at Osathanondh’s Hyannis office. They blame willful, reckless conduct by the doctor. Osathanondh has been ordered to turn in his passport as he awaits trial.


Doctor charged with manslaughter in death of abortion patient

2008: Dr. Rapin Osathanondh indicted in the death of Laura Hope Smith

link to charges

The board alleged, among other things, that Osathanondh had placed the patient under sedation without any means of cardiac monitoring and no blood pressure cuff. The board said the doctor had no assistant who could administer sedation and monitor the patient and no assistant who could assist in resuscitating her. And it said he “failed to timely initiate a call to 911.” The board also alleged that Osathanondh had made a variety of false statements.

The board said Osathanondh tried to waken the patient after the procedure, but she did not respond. She was later transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead… Globe.
This is a link to the Board of Medicine. It shows how lax the doctor was in monitoring Laura Smith during the procedure. Osathanondh did the abortion on 22-year-old Laura Smith, who died in September at his Women’s Health Center abortion business. Eileen Smith, Laura’s mother, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Osathanondh in Barnstable Superior Court on March 10. Osathanondh, 65, graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Mahidol University, Thailand, in 1967. He received his license to practice medicine in Massachusetts in 1974. He was a solo practitioner at the Women’s Health Center, according to the board.


In 2001 abortionist, Rapin Osathanondh, allegedly threatened death to Brigham and Women’s Hospital nurses in Massachusetts. Dr. Osathanondh left Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in 2001 following complaints that during a staff meeting he threatened to “execute” five nurses. The nurses told Boston police that Rapin Osathanondh, head of the hospital’s family planning unit, threatened during a staff meeting to “execute people. I’m going to kill you. I’m going to execute you, Texas-style.” According to a police report, Dr. Osathanondh was angry over some forms that were missing from a nursing station. A subsequent hearing determined that there is enough evidence to pursue the nurses’ complaint as valid. He was not prosecuted for the alleged threats, according to Boston Herald reports.

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