Family Sues City for Gosnell Abortion Clinic Death

Abortion doctor and staff are charged with murder and other crimes

The city is now facing a lawsuit involving a former abortion clinic run by Dr. Kermit Gosnell who has been charged with murder.

A city health department's “policy of inaction” cost a 41-year-old refugee her life after a botched abortion at a rogue medical clinic, the woman's family charged in a federal lawsuit.

Karnamaya Mongar, 41, died from an overdose of painkillers given by unlicensed workers at the now-shuttered clinic, where investigators last year found discarded fetuses and other macabre conditions. The Bhutanese woman had survived 18 years in a refugee camp before arriving in the U.S. months earlier.

Gosnell, 70, is charged with murder in her death and those of seven babies allegedly born alive and then killed with scissors. He has pleaded not guilty, although several other clinic employees have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, at least one in Mongar's death.

The city health department had received repeated warnings about horrific and unsanitary conditions at the clinic before 2009, but failed to act, according to the lawsuit, which echoes allegations in the grand jury report.

The department's “policy of inaction ultimately cost Karnamaya Mongar her life,” the suit charged.

A sanitation worker got a tip in 2005 that fetuses were being kept in paper bags in a staff refrigerator, and told an assistant health commissioner, the suit said. And a vaccine inspector found and reported similarly disturbing conditions in 2008, a year before Mongar's death, the suit alleged.

A city health department spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday afternoon. Courthouse News Service first reported on the lawsuit, which was filed Friday.

Mongar had been referred to Gosnell by a Virginia clinic that did not perform second-trimester abortions. She was 19 weeks pregnant.

Staff members gave the 110-pound woman far too much anesthesia in the hours before Gosnell arrived to perform the abortion, the grand jury found.

Mongar's daughter, Yashoda Gurung of Woodbridge, Va., who had accompanied her mother inside the clinic, filed the suit as administrator of her mother's estate.

“It is still agony because of the loss, because she was the matriarch of the family,'” Bernard Smalley, the family's lawyer, said earlier this year. He did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.

The clinic was shut down months after Mongar's death, after federal drug agents raided the clinic as part of an investigation into high-volume painkiller distributors.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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