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Archive for Sunday, April 24, 2005

Despite clinic’s closure, doctor still hopes to practice

Compromise sought to allow supervised work

April 24, 2005

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— A doctor whose violations at his now-closed clinic landed him a suspension and spurred legislative debate on regulating abortion still hopes to practice medicine, his attorney told state regulators Saturday.

Dr. Krishna Rajanna had his license suspended indefinitely last month, after an inspector visited his Kansas City, Kan., clinic twice in one week. The inspector reported that the clinic was unclean, concluded that Rajanna mishandled medications and found a dead mouse inside the building.

The Board of Healing Arts met Saturday to consider revoking Rajanna's license but postponed a decision until June, though his suspension remains in effect.

Rajanna's attorney, Robert Manske, said his client was seeking a compromise that would allow him to work under supervision.

Manske said Rajanna won't reopen the clinic, which has been closed since his license was suspended, or start another independent practice. Manske said the clinic building was being converted into a restaurant.

"My client is 68. He's in good health. He's got dependents," Manske told the board. "He would like to continue working."

Abortion opponents have watched Rajanna's case closely and have frequently cited it as evidence of the need for tougher regulation of abortion clinics.

Kathy Ostrowski, a lobbyist for Kansans for Life, the state's largest anti-abortion group, said the board should have revoked Rajanna's license and forced him to show he's competent to get it back.

"Now that he's a disgraced abortion doctor, he's going to find a job?" Ostrowski asked. "How can this man go into another facility and be trusted?"

Abortion opponents this year pushed a bill requiring abortion clinics to obtain an annual license from the Department of Health and Environment, hire surgeons as their medical directors and report patient deaths to the state within a day. It also mandates that KDHE set standards for equipment, medical screenings, ventilation and lighting.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, an abortion rights supporter, vetoed the measure, saying medical professionals should set standards, not legislators. An attempt to override her veto is expected after legislators reconvene Wednesday.

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