Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Death Cited in Action Against Abortionist


Abortion death cited in action against doctor Ala. suspends license of Jackson abortion practitioner
By Andy Kanengiser
August 14, 2004

A doctor who performs abortions in Jackson had his Alabama medical license suspended after one of his patients who had an abortion at a Birminghamclinic died last year.The Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners concluded Dr. Malachy Dehenre,53, practiced medicine in a way as to "endanger the health of patients''and committed "repeated malpractice."Dehenre, who was working in Jackson on Friday, could not be reached for comment. The board, which investigates complaints against doctors, passed its findings on to the Alabama Medical Licensure Commission, which suspendedDehenre on July 28.Part of the Alabama investigation looked into an abortion that Dehenre performed last year at the New Woman Medical Center in Jackson. During the March 20, 2003, procedure, the woman "began hemorrhaging uncontrollably'' and was taken to the University of Mississippi MedicalCenter. She underwent a second surgery, requiring, ultimately, that she have a total hysterectomy, according to the board's findings.Mississippi's State Board of Medical Licensure is investigating Dehenre asa result of his Alabama suspension. Mississippi officials said they could suspend his license here, but they refused to discuss details of the case.Neither officials at New Woman Medical Center nor their attorney, Chris Tabb, would comment. Four protesters stood outside the Jackson clinic on Friday, advising patients of Dehenre's Alabama suspension and handing out leafletssuggesting options other than abortion.Dehenre faces a Sept. 22 hearing before the Alabama licensure commission inMontgomery. The commission could revoke his license, and Dehenre canappeal. In the Birmingham case, the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners reported that the woman was discharged from Summit Medical Center 20minutes after having an abortion on Nov. 25, 2003.Less than six hours later, her husband contacted the medical center and reported that his wife had abdominal pain and a low temperature, the boardsaid. She was taken by ambulance to a Birmingham hospital, where she died.She sustained an unrecognized uterine perforation during the abortion, the board said. "Subsequent hemorrhagic shock led to her ultimate demise,'' according tothe board's report to the licensure commission.Court papers identify the woman as Leigh Ann Stephens Alford of Blount County, Ala. The papers were filed in June by her husband, Derrick Allen Alford, in the first stage of a potential wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Summit Medical Center of Alabama and the doctor and staff that providedtreatment for her.Derrick Allen Alford could not be reached.Pat Cartrette, director of Pro-Life Mississippi, said her group has issued complaints about Dehenre to state agencies, including the attorneygeneral's office, the Mississippi Department of Health and the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure, since early last year. Dehenre received his Alabama license in June 1999. He's been performing abortions in Jackson for about five years, officials said.Mississippi Health Department reports show there were 3,605 abortions performed in Mississippi in 2002. The total includes 3,455 state residentsand 150 from out of state.