Earlier this afternoon, The Family Foundation released the following press statement:
RICHMOND–A Virginia Department of Health inspection report obtained by The Family Foundation of Virginia through the Freedom of Information Act uncovered apparent violations of federal drug laws by the personnel at the Charlottesville Medical Center for Women.
The report also revealed multiple violations of basic health and safety standards, including the use of IV sedation without any personnel being trained in Advance Cardiac Life Support, the medical standard according to American Heart Association guidelines. Public health officials discovered that the doctor at the facility has been dispensing narcotics without a valid DEA license – which expired two years ago. In addition, staff at the facility was apparently improperly interacting with and keeping no records of Schedule II narcotics, and transporting drugs with no accountability or license.
“Ask any doctor and they will tell you that allowing their DEA license to expire for a week would be ridiculous but to allow it to be expired for two years and continue distributing Schedule II narcotics drugs is not just disturbing, it’s a blatant violation of federal law,” said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia. “This facility and this doctor have apparently been administering a Schedule II narcotic, the same Schedule of drug as OxyCotin, Cocaine and Methamphetamines, without a license. They’ve kept no records of the amount of these drugs they’ve purchased, used, distributed or “disposed of” by other means. The report states that they have unlicensed staff members transporting drugs with no inventory records. But sadly we know the abortion industry receives preferential treatment where any other medical practice or doctor would be held accountable. In any other instance, people would go to jail or face substantial fines, but instead this abortion center and doctor get a pass and licensure simply by promising to do better. It’s absurd.”
In their July 9 and 10, 2014 inspection report, Department of Health officials found that an unlicensed staff member:
“… drawing up Fentanyl (a narcotic analgesic) and Versed (also termed Midozolam, a benzodiazepine) into a syringe. Staff #4 labeled the syringe with a marker and then brought the syringe to the bedside. Staff #5 (physician) started the patient’s intravenous line (IV) and then Staff#4 handed the syringe containing the Fentanyl and Versed to the physician, who then administered the medication. At no time were the contents of the syringe discussed between Staff #4 and Staff #5, nor was Staff #5 shown the vials from which the medications had been drawn.” When asked about the process, “Staff #4 stated that he/she regularly ‘drew up’ the Fentanyl and Versed for the administration by the physician…When asked how long Staff #4 had been drawing up medication for the doctor during procedures, Staff #4 stated that is has been for twenty (20) years. Staff #4 was asked if he/she was a licensed medical professional, and Staff #4 said, ‘no.’ A review was done of the Code of Virginia §54.1-3408 Professional use (of controlled substances) by Practitioners. There was no allowance for non-licensed persons to handle narcotic medications, even if under the supervision of a physician.”
Fentanyl is a Schedule II narcotic, described as highly addictive by the DEA.
Unlicensed staff members at the Charlottesville facility were also revealed to be transporting narcotics from one facility to another with no record or documentation. In fact, the facility had no records in accordance with federal and state laws regarding the drugs used at the facility. According to the inspection report: “…the facility failed to keep records of all drugs in Schedules I-V received, sold, administered, dispensed or otherwise disposed of…”
One of the questions public health officials should be asking is, “How did a doctor who doesn’t have a valid DEA license obtain Schedule II drugs? Was he obtaining them illegally through a pharmacy? Was another doctor obtaining the drugs and then illegally trafficking them to this doctor? And, did anyone at the Department of Health bother to investigate or ask? The primary doctor at this facility operates at three other abortion centers. Are the same violations happening at those facilities and has the state done anything at all to investigate or report these violations to federal authorities?”
The facility also apparently failed to follow standard medical procedure in administering narcotics. According to the inspection report, staff at the facility failed to document if patients were allergic to any drugs, and failed to take vital signs prior to procedures. The facility also had no one certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (an American Heart Association standard for the use of IV sedation) if a woman had an adverse reaction to the narcotic administered.
The center has responded to the inspection findings by simply submitting a form to the Department of Health promising to fix the litany of drug-related violations, though the person responsible for implementing the promised corrections appears to be the same staff member, the Administrator, who has been responsible for violating many of the laws. Added Cobb, “The submission of nothing more than a simple piece of paper amounts to a pinky promise by the facility to fix major problems.”
The Charlottesville Medical Center for Women is owned by W.K.G. and J., Incorporated (the secretary is Marianne Fitzhugh), which also owns the Roanoke Medical Center for Women, the Richmond Medical Center for Women and the Peninsula Medical Center for Women. According to 2013 data, these centers performed 12 percent of the abortions in Virginia that year, making them the third largest abortion provider in Virginia after Planned Parenthood and centers owned by infamous Dr. Steven Brigham.
Dr. William Fitzhugh is the only licensed doctor at the Charlottesville facility that we can identify on the Board of Medicine website.
“The abortion industry continues to fail to live up to its own rhetoric,” added Cobb. “While the $1 billion industry claims to put safety first, inspection reports have found over 400 health and safety violations, violations of state and federal law, and widespread contempt for the health and safety of women in Virginia. This center’s apparent disregard for federal and state drug laws, for the health and safety of the women who enter its doors, is beyond appalling. Our question is, did the Department of Health, when it became aware of the multiple violations of federal and state drug laws, report the doctor and the facility to any enforcement agency? In fact, did anyone do anything at all other than help cover it up?”
A copy of the inspection report can be viewed here.