Archive for gross negligence

Unlicensed circuit riding abortion doc halted in Maryland

Posted in Abortion, abortion clinic safety, Abortion Clinic Worders, Abortion complication, Abortion injury, Steven Chase Brigham with tags , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2010 by saynsumthn

Pennsylvania physician cited for allegedly performing abortions in Elkton without Maryland medical license
By Jacob Owens
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Maryland Board of Physicians issued a cease-and-desist order last week to a doctor who allegedly performed abortions in Elkton without a state medical license.

Dr. Steven Chase Brigham, who owns a chain of abortion clinics named American Women’s Services, has been using a rental property at 126 E. High St. in Elkton to perform procedures, according to the medical board.

In its order, the board said it “has probable cause to believe” Brigham is not, and has never been, licensed to practice medicine in Maryland.

However, according to the board, he has performed as many as three abortions a week in Elkton, for several months prior to the cease-and-desist order being issued Aug. 25.

Brigham has been observed performing surgical procedures on approximately 50 occasions in Maryland at the Elkton location since January 2010,” according to the legal order issued by the board, which details procedures as late as Aug. 20.

According to the board, one procedure “initiated” somewhere outside of Elkton on Aug. 13 “had to be completed on an urgent basis.”

“Brigham then followed the patient in an automobile as the patient, under his instructions, traveled to Elkton for the completion of the procedure,” according to the order. “In Elkton, the patient was admitted, as planned, to a clinic owned by Brigham for the completion of the procedure. He directed the surgical procedure that took place at his clinic on that date.

Contact information for Brigham’s Elkton office is not listed, nor is it listed as a facility on the American Women’s Services’ website.

Brigham has faced a long list of accusations, violations and punishments in several states throughout his career.

In 1994, New York revoked his medical license after a review board found him guilty of three acts of gross negligence and 10 counts of negligence involving two late-pregnancy abortions.

In July, the Pennsylvania Department of Health ordered Brigham to shut down four of his clinics in that state for repeatedly employing unlicensed caregivers, the Inquirer reported.

Brigham’s American Women’s Services facilities perform about 3,600 abortions a year in Pennsylvania, according to state records reviewed by the Inquirer.

Cecil County Health Officer Stephanie Garrity said she had never heard of Brigham before she was notified of the board’s order late last week.

Union Hospital spokeswoman Kathryn McKinney said Brigham has no ties there.

In Maryland, state law requires abortions to be performed by a licensed physician. If the patient is an unmarried minor, the physician must give notice to a parent or guardian before performing an abortion. That notice may be waived, however, if the physician deems the “minor is mature and capable of giving informed consent to an abortion,” or if notification would lead to physical or emotional abuse of the minor.

According to the pro-life watchdog group Operation Rescue: The order, dated August 25, 2010, indicates that Brigham has been practicing illegally in Maryland since January, 2010.

It referred to an incident that occurred on August 13, 2010, where Brigham had begun a surgical procedure presumed to be an abortion, since that is the sole focus of his business. However, something went wrong and Brigham instructed the woman to travel to his abortion clinic in Elkton to complete the procedure “on an urgent basis.”

“The health of Maryland patients is being endangered by the Respondent’s unlicensed practice of medicine in this State,” the order read.

The Maryland locations involved are located in Baltimore, Cheverly, Fredrick, College Park, and Elkton. Currently, all the clinics remain open and staffed by other abortionists.

Brigham operates a number of abortion mills in several states under the name American Women’s Services.

Brigham has been under investigation and discipline throughout his entire 20-year career. He voluntarily retired his medical license in Pennsylvania while under investigation just six years after graduating from medical school. Since then, Brigham had medical licenses revoked in New York and Florida, and received disciplinary action in California and New Jersey. He served 120 days in jail in 1998 for Medicaid fraud.

A judge once ordered him to stop advertising his abortions as “painless” and “safe.”

The only thing that will stop Brigham from committing illegal abortions that endanger the lives of women is to toss him in jail for a long time,” said Operation Rescue Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger. “Traditional means of discipline simply don’t work with this guy. He has found that he can get away with just about anything without much more than a slap on the wrist. The only way to protect women from Brigham’s predatory and unsafe abortion business is to criminally charge him and order all his mills closed. We plan to file a complaint with the authorities and demand criminal charges before the end of the week.”

Abortion clinic chain operator in trouble with state for hiring unlicensed abortion doctors, failing to pay taxes

Posted in Abortion, abortion clinic safety, Abortion Clinic Worders, Abortion injury, Abortion Regulation, Abortionist, pro-choice, Pro-choice law breakers, Steven Chase Brigham with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by saynsumthn

More trouble for abortion doctor, this time in Pennsylvania

By Marie McCullough 7-21-2010
Inquirer Staff Writer

Steven Chase Brigham, a physician whose medical license has been revoked, relinquished, or temporarily suspended in five states, is now facing regulatory and tax troubles that could jeopardize his chain of 15 abortion clinics.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health this month ordered Brigham to permanently shut his four clinics in the state for repeatedly employing unlicensed caregivers.

Lawyer Julia Gabis, who represents Brigham in the Pennsylvania case, contends that the order violates his constitutional rights and reflects selective enforcement against abortion providers. The department rejected those arguments.

“We intend to appeal this decision to the Commonwealth Court,” Gabis said in an e-mail.

Brigham also has to deal with the IRS. In April, it placed $234,536 in liens against him for failing to pay payroll taxes from 2002 to 2006. His company, which does business as American Women’s Services, has six clinics in New Jersey, including the headquarters at 1 Alpha Ave., Voorhees.

John Zen Jackson, a lawyer in Warren, N.J. who represented Brigham in a lawsuit against him by his accounting firm, did not respond to requests for comment on the liens.

Brigham, 53, has rarely given interviews about his legal scrapes, which go back as far as 1989 and have pitted him against medical boards, creditors, landlords, patients, and others. He declined to be interviewed for this article.

Brigham graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1986. By 1990, when abortion became the focus of his practice, he was licensed in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, and Georgia, public records show.

Pennsylvania was the first setback. In a confidential 1992 settlement, Brigham agreed to permanently give up his license amid an investigation of his practice in Wyomissing.

Despite this restriction, Brigham continued to own and expand his abortion business in the state.

In 1994, New York took his license, finding him guilty of “gross negligence” and “inexcusably bad judgment” involving two late-pregnancy abortions. The patients suffered life-threatening bleeding and required emergency hospital operations, public records show.

Brigham maintained offices in New York through 1995 but failed to file state business taxes, a misdemeanor for which he was sentenced to 120 days in jail and $8,188 in restitution, public records show.

In Florida, Brigham lost his license for not disclosing New York’s action. California put him on probation and ordered extra training; instead, he let his license lapse, as he did in Georgia.

New Jersey suspended Brigham’s license in 1993, citing the same botched abortions as New York, plus other charges. After three years of defending himself against an action by the state Attorney General’s Office, Brigham won full reinstatement of his medical privileges.

Pennsylvania‘s latest disciplinary action came July 7 when Deputy Secretary of Health Robert Torres permanently banned Brigham and any corporation in which he has a controlling interest from providing abortions in the state. Torres’ order cites repeated violations of the state’s medical licensing rules.

American Women’s Services does about 3,600 abortions a year in Pennsylvania, state records show. It has clinics in Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, and State College. Until last month its website also listed 11 locations in Philadelphia, Bristol Borough, King of Prussia, and Willow Grove where patients could rendezvous for “free transportation” to a clinic.

Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, said this week, “We applaud Pennsylvania’s decision.”

Her trade association, which has 400 abortion providers that meet its clinical standards, has long criticized the quality of care at Brigham’s clinics.
The most recent violation cited in the July 7 order occurred in 2008, when a woman who was not a nurse worked as one in the Pittsburgh clinic, according to Health Department charges.

During hearings early last year, Brigham contended he had been duped. He testified that he did not know the applicant’s name when he verified the license number she provided to his office administrator. As a result, he verified the wrong person’s license.

Asked why he did not specifically check the applicant’s name, he said, “It didn’t dawn on me. I mean, I just, I didn’t. . . . I don’t know. I guess I don’t have a good explanation.”

In his legal pleadings, Brigham argued that even if there were a licensing violation, it was minor. Shutting him down, he contended, would be “excessive” and “drastic.”

But the 2008 violation was far from minor, health officials decided, in the context of his previous lapses.

In 1997, Brigham employed an obstetrician-gynecologist who was under suspension for, among other things, sexually molesting patients.
“We contacted Dr. Brigham, and he said he wasn’t aware that the license was suspended,” recalled Kenneth Brody, the department’s chief counsel. The department accepted that explanation and did not discipline Brigham.

In 2004, Brigham again pleaded ignorance. He said he was unaware that a physician who had done more than 1,600 abortions at American Women’s Services clinics in Pennsylvania had previously retired his license and thus was not paying into the state’s medical malpractice insurance fund.

That time, Brigham had to promise the department that from then on, his company would go to special lengths to verify medical credentials. He agreed that any further slip-ups would be grounds for barring him from having abortion facilities “directly or indirectly” in the state.

In issuing the shut-down order last week, Torres rejected one last legal argument that Brigham added to his pleadings early this year: He claimed the case had become moot because in January, he transferred ownership of his Pennsylvania clinics to a newly created company headed by a 70-year-old woman in Toledo, Ohio.

Permission to run abortion clinics “may not be transferred as part of a sales transaction,” Torres ruled. Any transfer “would be void.”

During Brigham’s travails, his enterprise has continually evolved. Over the years, he has created at least 20 corporate entities – some with names such as Peaceful Corp., Goodness Inc., and Kindness Corp. – and added clinics in Virginia and Maryland.

The IRS now has a big claim against all of it.

“We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid,” say April IRS notices demanding $234,536 for unpaid payroll taxes. “Therefore, there is a lien in favor of the United States on all property and rights to property belonging to this taxpayer for the amount of these taxes, and additional penalties, interest, and costs that may accrue.”

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More on Bringham here