In an article appearing in The Baltimore Sun newspaper on December 31, 2011, it was reported that two doctors who performed an abortion in Maryland during 2010 on an 18-year-old woman who suffered a ruptured uterus and other internal injuries during the procedure have been criminally charged under Maryland’s fetal homicide law that was enacted in 2005 that makes it illegal to abort a viable fetus. Maryland is one of 38 U.S. states with a fetal homicide law.
Both doctors were arrested outside of Maryland on December 28, 2011. One of the doctors faces five first-degree murder charges, five second-degree murder charges, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and the other doctor faces one first-degree murder charge, one second-degree murder change, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
The 18-year-old woman was 21 weeks pregnant when the abortion procedure began in New Jersey, where her cervix was dilated. She was then instructed to drive herself to Maryland, where abortion laws were more lenient (New Jersey and many other states require that late-term abortions be performed in hospitals or surgical centers instead of doctors’ offices), so that the abortion could be completed there. After the serious complications occurred, one of the doctors drove her to a local Maryland hospital and then returned to the Maryland clinic to perform another abortion.
When Maryland police subsequently searched the clinic, they were unable to find medical records for the 18-year-old but did find 35 later-term fetuses in a freezer (the fetuses were up to 35 weeks old).
Both doctors had lost their licenses to practice medicine or to run abortion clinics in New York, Pennsylvania, and other states before the incident involving the 18-year-old. One of the doctors had her Maryland medical license suspended one month after the incident and the other did not have a Maryland medical license. The doctor without a Maryland medical license had operated abortion clinics in five locations in Maryland.
When medical malpractice occurs, criminal charges related to the medical malpractice incident are usually not filed — medical malpractice is a tort (a civil wrongdoing) whereas criminal charges are the states’ way of punishing those who violate criminal laws regarding wrongful actions such as murder, homicide, theft, battery, etc. Whether criminal in nature or not, medical malpractice can result in devastating and permanent injuries or death for its victims.
If you or a loved one were the victim of possible medical malpractice in any state of the United States, it is imperative that you seek the advice of a medical malpractice attorney in your state in a timely fashion to determine your rights to receive compensation for your injuries and losses.
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