Local/State

Delaware abortion clinic facing charges of unsafe and unsanitary conditions

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A local abortion clinic is under fire, facing allegations of unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

A series of emergency calls made from the Planned Parenthood of Delaware this year are raising concerns about what's happening behind the closed doors.

Two former nurses who both quit are speaking exclusively with Action News about what they saw inside.

Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, former employee said, "It was just unsafe. I couldn't tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was."

Werbrich alleges conditions inside the facility were unsanitary.

"He didn't wear gloves," said Werbrich.

Another former employee, Joyce Vasikonis told Action News, "They were using instruments on patients that were not sterile."

The former nurses claim that a rush to get patients in and out left operating tables soiled and unclean.

Werbrich said "It's not washed down, it's not even cleaned off. It has bloody drainage on it."

"They could be at risk of getting hepatitis, even AIDS," added Vasikonis.

Both of these nurses said, they quit to protect their own medical licenses, stunned by what they called a meat-market style of assembly-line abortions.

Vasikonis said, "I felt I could be held liable if a patient was harmed."

"Planned Parenthood needs to close its doors, it's needs to be cleaned up, the staff needs to be trained, said Werbrich."

In Delaware, abortion clinics are not subject to routine inspections. The state only steps in when they have a patient complaint. Planned Parenthood is essentially in charge of inspecting itself.

Mary Peterson from the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services said, "I am not going to lie to you, we don't have the manpower to do routine inspections."

She says, her investigators went into the facility in October of last year after a complaint.

We asked Peterson, did they find any problems with the sterilization of utensils. She told us "no, no." We then asked if blood was being left after one patient had surgery and another one came in, she replied, "absolutely none."

Investigators say, they have not found evidence to support the claims raised by Vasikonis and Werbrich.

Since January 4th, five patients allegedly have been rushed from the facility to the emergency room, again placing the clinic in the spotlight.

Peterson says, it raises concerns and they are in the process of looking into what is causing the issues to occur.

Action News has learned during our investigation that one doctor and two more nurses at the clinic have mysteriously left.

Planned Parenthood would not confirm if they were fired or resigned.

In a statement, the new CEO, Ruth Lytle-Barnaby told Action News:

"Planned Parenthood of Delaware has provided high-quality services for more than 80 years. Each year, we provide confidential, compassionate care that includes breast cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, Pap tests, sexual health education, abortion, and health counseling to more than 11,000 women, men and teens in all three Delaware counties.

Planned Parenthood's medical standards and guidelines are informed by the most trusted medical knowledge as well as professional and scientific organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

In my role as the new CEO of Planned Parenthood of Delaware, recently my staff and I launched a review of patient services. I determined that we need to take immediate steps to assure our patients of our high-quality care, including enacting immediate personnel changes. We do not tolerate employees that fail to meet our standards for patient care and services.

Ensuring high-quality care and maintaining the valued trust of our community is of the utmost importance. In addition to the significant steps I have already taken, at my invitation, a team of medical experts from our national office is on site to confirm we are addressing every concern. We are confident patient care is high quality, but if we identify any additional issues with our quality of services we are prepared to take swift action. Any employee who does not live up to our standards of patient care will be terminated. Patient health and safety has always been  and remains  our top priority."

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
Action News Investigation, abortion, delaware news, local/state, wendy saltzman
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