Shown is the front window of the Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women at the Women's Medical Society, was charged Wednesday Jan. 19, 2011, with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
The fourth week of testimony in Dr, Kermit Gosnell's "House of Horrors" trial began with another former employee testifying about what she saw and what she did while she worked at the Women's Medical Society.
Sherry West began working at Dr. Gosnell's clinic in late 2008 after working as a surgical technician at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. West testified that she trained for two months before performing ultrasounds and administering medication, including anesthesia, to Gosnell's patients.
Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies at the clinic, and with the death of a 41-year old woman who went into cardiac arrest after having an abortion. Prosecutors allege that Gosnell performed illegal, late-term abortions and when babies were born alive, he would sever their spinal cords to kill them.
West testified that once during an abortion procedure, she was very disturbed when a baby made a screeching noise. She said it was not fully-developed and "it sounded like a little alien. It really freaked me out," West told the courtroom.
She testified about the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died after being given too much Demerol, according to the medical examiner. West testified that after Mongar's death, Dr. Gosnell held a staff meeting to reassure employees, but that no procedural changes were made for administering medication.
West, who has pleaded guilty to 3rd degree murder and conspiracy, said tearfully that she is not guilty of her crimes and that she felt loyal to Gosnell.
Under cross-examination defense attorney Jack McMahon established that Dr. Gosnell had a system set up for giving medication to patients, and that it was not an arbitrary system.
He also noted for jurors that during previous testimony, West denied seeing Gosnell perform any late-term abortions at the clinic.
Detective James Wood was also on the stand today. He talked questioning Gosnell about fetuses found in the clinic's freezer. According to his testimony, Gosnell admitted that 10 to 20-percent of the fetuses found in plastic bags "may have been" over 24.5 weeks old.
Gosnell is accused of manipulating the clinic's ultrasound machine to make fetuses look younger than they were. Wood testified that when he questioned Gosnell about that, "Gosnell's face changed, his color changed and he didn't answer the question." Gosnell's attorney argued that Gosnell cooperated fully during questioning.
Tomorrow, another former employee Lynda Williams is set to testify.