Archive for Negligence

Lawsuit filed in abortion clinic death

Posted in Abortion, abortion clinic safety, Abortion complication, Abortion death, Abortion injury, Abortionist, Andrew Rutland with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by saynsumthn

Family sues doctor in abortion death
Aug. 16, 2010 By COURTNEY PERKES

The family of an abortion patient whose death was recently reclassified as a homicide has filed a malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Andrew Rutland.

Rutland, an Anaheim Hills obstetrician/gynecologist, faces discipline by the California Medical Board in the death of Ying Chen, 30. She sought an abortion at a San Gabriel strip mall clinic in July 2009, but suffered a heart attack and died from a fatal reaction to local anesthesia.

The suit, filed last month in Los Angeles Superior Court, was brought by Chen’s boyfriend, Zixiang Hu, on behalf of their 2-year-old daughter. It alleges that the clinic, which was also used for acupuncture, was not properly equipped to perform an abortion and that Rutland failed to adequately attempt to revive her.

“This is a doctor who performed a procedure he should not have been performing in those conditions,” said attorney Jeffrey Bell, who is representing the family. “He started a procedure, that if there were any complications, they weren’t prepared for it.”

Rutland has denied wrongdoing and called her death an “unpreventable complication to a local anesthetic” in a July 15 letter.

Chen’s death was originally ruled accidental, but the Los Angeles County coroner’s department changed the cause to homicide after receiving more information from medical board investigators. No criminal charges have been filed and the case is still under review, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said Monday.

A June report from the chief medical examiner described the circumstances leading to Chen’s death as “gross and wanton disregard for the well being of the patient.

Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran wrote that in a hospital setting with a trained anesthesiologist, “the outcome would have been different and the patient would have survived.”

He noted that the clinic, which was not licensed to perform abortions, was a “dangerous environment for any potential resuscitation.” He cited expired drugs, lack of oxygen and dangerous drugs stored in mislabeled drawers. Sathyavagiswaran said that in his opinion, “the death occurred at the hands of the physician due to his action and inaction.”

Another document from an anesthesiology consultant who reviewed the case said Rutland was not attempting to resuscitate Chen until a paramedic asked him if he knew CPR.

The original medical examiner, Dr. Yulai Wang, wrote in a report that he still believes the death was accidental, although “there were serious problems regarding physician and clinic.”

Rutland’s attorney, Paul Hittlelman of Los Angeles, said there was a “lack of unanimity” in the coroner’s office but declined to comment further. He said he was not aware of the civil suit.

Rutland lost his medical license in 2002 after settling with the board on a number of allegations by admitting negligence in the death of a baby who died after a forceps delivery. He was reinstated to practice medicine in 2007.

A hearing has been set for February to determine if Rutland will lose his license again. Earlier this year, a judge barred him from performing surgical abortions or delivering babies pending the outcome.

The wrongful death lawsuit also names Dr. Lars Erik Hanson of San Gabriel, who owned the clinic and also attempted resuscitation efforts. The medical board on Thursday filed a disciplinary action against Hanson, accusing him of running an abortion clinic that was not adequately equipped or staffed.

Additionally, the board documents accuse Hanson of unprofessional conduct, alleging that after Chen suffered the reaction, Hanson fled the scene. A police officer had to return him to the clinic, where he allegedly refused to cooperate with the investigation. Hanson could not be reached for comment.