Friday, August 27, 2004

Suspended Abortionist Was Already Being Probed

August 24, 2004
Officials probed abortion doctor before suspension
Mississippi State Board suspended doctor's license on Thursday after
complaints
By John Fuquay
jfuquay@jackson.gannett.com

Mississippi authorities were investigating a Jackson abortion doctor weeks
before his license was suspended last month in Alabama.

The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure received "more than one
complaint" about the doctor and began an investigation sometime during the
spring, said Dr. W. Joseph Burnett, executive director of the state board.

Dr. Malachy Dehenre, 53, was suspended July 28 in Alabama. Authorities there
cited that one of his patients died less than 24 hours after receiving an
abortion.

In reaching their decision, Alabama authorities reviewed the case of another
woman whom they said received an abortion from Dehenre in March 2003 at the
New Woman Medical Center in Jackson. According to Alabama authorities, the
woman began hemorrhaging and required a hysterectomy following her abortion.

The Mississippi board suspended Dehenre's license Thursday. He was summoned
to appear before the board Sept. 2, but Burnett said Dehenre requested a
continuance Monday through his attorney.

Dehenre could not be reached for comment Monday.

Venecca Green, an attorney involved with Dehenre's representation, would not
comment and said other attorneys involved were unavailable.

The phone at the New Woman Medical Center was answered by a machine that
referred patients to another number they apparently were given during an
office visit.

Pat Cartrette, executive director of ProLife Mississippi, said she believes
the clinic is closed. "I have definitely observed that they have not seen
patients Thursday, Friday, Saturday or today," Cartrette said Monday.

She said parking around Jackson's only other abortion clinic, Jackson
Women's Health Organization, has doubled since last week.

A woman who answered the phone at the clinic said an administrator was too
busy to comment.

Chris Tabb, the attorney for New Woman Medical Center, said, "I have not
talked to the owner, so I could not comment."

Burnett said he did not recall whether a complaint was made regarding the
woman who received the hysterectomy last year. He said his office learned of
the Alabama patient's death in early July. He said he was unable to recall
specific complaints.

Burnett said he likely will grant Dehenre's request for a continuance until
after his Sept. 22 hearing in Alabama. If Alabama authorities revoke
Dehenre's license, the Mississippi board could do the same without a
hearing.