Please pray that this revocation becomes permanent, or at a minimum drags on for a very prolonged period.
Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, Louisiana, is the largest provider of abortions in the northern Louisiana area. Their license was revoked on Friday, Sep 3, 2010, for a variety of violations of minimum medical standards, which put patients at risk. The clinic has 30 days to file an appeal. Under current law in Louisiana, the clinic must cease performing abortions immediately.
People associated with Hope Medical Group have been loud and outspoken advocates of reproductive "choice" and abortion rights. The clinic is subject to frequent protests.
The result of this revocation is to severely limit abortion access in the Louisiana - East Texas - South Arkansas region. Women who are considering abortions are now faced with additional costs and travel restrictions. The only other abortion provider in northern Louisiana is in a nearby medical suite. A search of the yellow pages shows additional listings for abortion providers, but all of those are in Dallas, TX. Depending on one's actual location in Louisiana, traveling to Dallas (one way, not round-trip) takes three to five hours.
[quote=Shreveport Times, Saturday Sep 4, 2010] [FONT=Times New Roman][size=3]The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals ordered a Shreveport abortion clinic Friday to cease performing the procedures after determining the clinic's operating procedures were putting patients at risk. Agents from the DHH said they found the Hope Medical Group for Women, 210 Kings Highway, failed to administer physicals prior to procedures, properly administer anesthesia or monitor anesthetized patients' vital signs, according to the DHH license revocation letter.
"These are some of the most basic medical practices they were excluding," said Anthony Keck, interim secretary for the Louisiana DHH. "They were out of compliance with several major licensing standards."
Louisiana Act No. 490, signed into law earlier this year, requires the clinic to immediately suspend operations because of DHH findings and the revocation of their license. The clinic has 30 days to put forward an appeal. Before this law, abortion clinics could continue operations during the months-long appeal process, Keck said. The Hope Medical Group for Women is the first clinic in the state shut down utilizing the power of the new law.
The infractions were discovered during an unannounced annual survey Aug. 11-13 from the Health Standards organization of the DHH, Keck said. "Whenever there's an action against a facility like this, there's a lot of thought that goes into it," Keck said. "The violations were so egregious and so consistent that we felt it was necessary to order them to cease and desist immediately."
No physicals were conducted before any of the 14 procedures the agents reviewed, Keck said. He said physicals are necessary before anesthetizing patients who could have complicated medical backgrounds making anesthesia dangerous. The DHH also found the clinic failed to have a trained professional monitor patients' level of consciousness, respiratory and cardiovascular status after the administration of intravenous medications and sedative gases, among other infractions relating to sedation, according to the letter.
The clinic's patient service manager, Kathleen Pittman, said she knew nothing about the license suspension. "This is the first I'm hearing of it," she said. "We closed at 5 p.m. and had not received any such notice." The health department said it faxed the notice to the clinic Friday afternoon. Pittman said the facility normally operates Monday through Saturday. Besides abortion procedures, the clinic offers pregnancy testing and counseling, emergency contraception and adoption referrals. [/size][/FONT]
The complete license revocation letter from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is attached to this post.