Google+
Close
Abortion’s Underside
Kermit Gosnell is not the only seedy backroom abortionist operating in the age of Roe v. Wade.


Text  


Comments
732
Jillian Kay Melchior

Though addresses changed over the years, these clinics were generally located in strip malls, operating on more or less a walk-in basis. Abortions reportedly cost from $225 to $1,000 or more.15

Gonzalez, Bazile, and Senises hired a doctor named Robelto Osborne in either 2001 or 2002. Like Bazile, he had a fraught medical past.

In 1996, Osborne had performed an abortion at 18 weeks’ gestation at A Woman’s Care II in Hialeah16, which was owned by Siomara Senises’s business partner in the Miami clinic, Maria Peguero.17 The procedure went terribly wrong. Osborne perforated the 18-year-old woman’s uterus, damaging her intestines in the process.18 He also failed to completely get rid of the baby; its right arm, right shoulder, and thorax remained in the young woman’s abdomen after the procedure.19 In the end, her small intestines had to be partially resectioned.20 She took Osborne to court, where they reached a settlement, and his insurance paid out at least $150,000 for the malpractice.21

Advertisement
According to the Miami New Times, Osborne has been sued for malpractice in Miami-Dade County at least five times since that 1996 error.22

In 2000, Osborne botched another abortion, according to the Florida Department of Health. A 41-year-old woman went in for an abortion at 18 weeks, which Osborne performed in the early afternoon of January 13. Afterward, she “complained of pain and bleeding, and was given a shot in the leg,” then sent home, where she began to hemorrhage. She called Osborne several times, but he never called back, so she went to the hospital. There, doctors discovered that her uterus had been severely perforated. And once again, parts of the fetus had been left inside. The woman had to endure a “total abdominal hysterectomy.”23

The state revoked Osborne’s medical license in August 200424 – at which time he was working at Gonzalez, Bazile, and Senises’s clinics—and he did not dispute the decision. But about three months later, police received a tip that unlicensed personnel, including Osborne, were performing abortions and other medical functions in the Miramar clinic.25

The tip proved valid. According to Miramar Police Department records, Osborne gave a sworn statement on May 23, 2005, in which he said that “both owners, Senises and Gonzalez . . . knew [Osborne’s license] was revoked and knew that he continued to work at the clinic following his revocation. Osborne testified that after the owners found out about his revocation it was ‘business as usual.’”26

Osborne could not be located for comment — phone numbers associated with him have been disconnected — but he also told investigators under oath that Senises, who doesn’t have a medical license, had assisted him with abortions.27 She pled no contest and was eventually sentenced to three years’ probation, beginning on September 28, 2008.28 Gonzalez also ended up pleading no contest to charges that she had practiced medicine without a license.29 Furthermore, a receptionist and another staffer were both successfully prosecuted for performing unlicensed medical tasks.30

Finally, investigators found that the clinics had employed a man named Kieron Nisbet, who was licensed only as a house physician, and who had received that license only because he had lied on his application papers.31 Even if he had been a valid house physician, his work at the clinics would have been illegal; according to the Florida Board of Medicine, house physicians “may only practice while employed by a Florida licensed hospital under the direct supervision of an MD or [doctor of osteopathic medicine],” and “such functions [are] to be performed under the direct supervision of a physician who has an active Florida license to practice medicine.”32 Nevertheless, Nisbet illegally performed abortions at one or more of the clinics, according to several witnesses. In December 2004, a circuit-court judge issued an arrest warrant for Nisbet, but police learned he had fled to Trinidad.33

Russell Etherington, an engineer, tells me that while he lived in Trinidad for three years building bridges, he became close friends with Nisbet and his family. Around 2006, the fugitive and his wife were fighting, and she called the engineer and blurted out that her husband “wasn’t even a real doctor.”

“I was shocked,” Etherington recalls. “I was absolutely gutted. It wasn’t a thing where people plan to be an electrician and they’re not qualified: I’d actually sat in his surgery [offices] and seen women and children going out.”34

The U.S. has a bilateral extradition agreement with Trinidad.35 But Etherington tells me he called the Miami prosecutors’ office and was told there was nothing they could do. I confirmed with Nisbet’s office that he works as a general practitioner today in Tunapuna, Trinidad. But when I requested an interview, the receptionist told me that “due to ongoing legal matters, [Nisbet] is not able to comment on anything right now.”36

*       *       *

As police were already investigating the clinics owned by Gonzalez, Bazile, and Senises for unlicensed medical practice, Sycloria Williams, 18 years old, went to the Miramar office for an abortion. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique, a doctor practicing in at least one of the clinics, met with Williams on July 19, 2006, giving her laminaria, which opens the cervix, allowing access to the uterus during an abortion. He also gave her Cytotec, a prescription medication that dilates the cervix.37 But according to the Florida Department of Health, “cytotech and cervical laminaria [should not be] used together because both are designed to ripen the cervix for the evacuation abortion procedure.”38



Text