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Archive for Friday, November 16, 2012

Judge: No bond for Kansas doctor in abortion case

November 16, 2012

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— A Kansas doctor won't have to post a bond while appealing the revocation of her medical license over referrals of young patients to the late Dr. George Tiller for late-term abortions, a judge ruled Friday.

The State Board of Healing Arts wanted to require Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who used to practice in Lawrence, to put up a bond of nearly $93,000 as she pursues a lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court in hopes of regaining her license. But District Judge Franklin Theis rejected the request and is requiring only that Neuhaus sign a statement saying she'll pay any judgment imposed by the courts.

The board took away Neuhaus' license in June, ratifying an administrative judge's finding that she did not perform adequate mental health exams on 11 patients, ages 10 to 18, before referring them in 2003 to Tiller's clinic in Wichita for late-term abortions. Neuhaus provided second medical opinions required by Kansas law for such procedures.

Neuhaus, who is from Nortonville, about 30 miles north of Lawrence, strongly disputes the board's conclusions and contends her exams met accepted standards of care. Her attorneys told Theis that as long as she cannot practice medicine, the largest bond she can afford to post is perhaps $100 and granting the board's request would deny her legal right to appeal its decision.

"Only the wealthy would have access to the courts," said Kori Trussell, one of Neuhaus' attorneys.

Kelli Stevens, the board's general counsel, said that if the board has no guarantee that Neuhaus will cover the expenses generated by her case, it might have to absorb those costs. Stevens noted that the board's $4.3 million annual budget is financed by fees from the health care providers it licenses.

"It would be unfair for them to bear the cost of her wrongdoing," Stevens said.

But Theis pointed out that the board itself said in its revocation order that it wouldn't require Neuhaus to pay any costs until a court challenge was resolved.

Also, Stevens acknowledged that she knows of no case in which the board sought such a bond in the 13 years she's worked for it. Theis said in his 36 years as a judge, he cannot recall a case, either.

Still, the judge's decision is likely to upset abortion opponents who've been watching Neuhaus for years and pressing the board to impose sanctions against her.

"The awful irony is the court is bending over backward to insure an abortionist is not denied the due process that thousands of unborn children and their mothers were denied in Kansas abortion clinics," said Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director for Kansans for Life, who attended Theis' brief hearing Friday.

Neuhaus had an inactive medical license that allowed her to provide limited charity care. She had asked the board to reinstate her to a full, active license.

She provided second opinions for Tiller from 1999 to 2006. He was among a few U.S. physicians known to perform abortions in the final weeks of pregnancy, and he was shot to death in his church in May 2009 by a man professing strong anti-abortion views.

The disciplinary case against Neuhaus examined how she concluded that each of the patients had serious mental health issues and that an abortion was advisable. The law at the time required Tiller to obtain an independent second opinion that a patient faced significant and permanent harm if the pregnancy continued.

Comments

Biker 2 years, 1 month ago

What a discredit to her profession. She failed to perform the most basic of required exams necessary to protect her patients. As a group of medical peers, the state medical board found she breached her duty and thereby her oath as a physician. I am not sure how it would be in the public interest to have any physician's medical license reinstated without them first acknowledging that they were in violation of the standard of care.

msezdsit 2 years, 1 month ago

"As a group of medical peers"

Bikers on dope.

"As a group of right wing fanatical republican nut cases under the guise as medical peers" is what she is competing with to practice medicine in the best interest of the women involved. The wackos have nothing but their flawed ideology to represent.

Biker 2 years ago

No. I have spent most of my life as prochoice and did not vote in this last election. I am just able to put politics/ideology aside an look at the case based upon the merits. Kansas does not need shoddy doctors. We trust our doctors with our health and our families health. I would expect a state medical board to uphold high standards regardless of their personal views on abortion.

Cait McKnelly 2 years ago

Oh and did I mention that several physicians recused themselves rather than go along with the board's decision? Believe me, there wasn't a consensus and the decision wasn't unanimous.

Cait McKnelly 2 years ago

"I would expect a state medical board to uphold high standards regardless of their personal views on abortion."

Understand, Biker, that's not the case with this particular board. Brownback stacked it and packed it. Don't you think it's just slightly suspicious that an "expert witness" (who had no connection with the case) was brought in from a Catholic university at state expense to testify at the hearing of an abortion provider? Did it ever occur to you that, although her license was revoked, she was never charged with "malpractice"? Didn't it seem odd that her own defense witnesses were not allowed to testify? The vast majority of physicians who lose their licenses are sued at some point for malpractice prior to having their licenses taken. Did you notice that she hadn't and the initial complaint came from a radical anti-abortion group that is, itself, on governmental domestic terrorist watch lists?
This entire thing was politically motivated from the git go.

bearded_gnome 2 years, 1 month ago

The disciplinary case against Neuhaus examined how she concluded that each of the patients had serious mental health issues and that an abortion was advisable. The law at the time required Tiller to obtain an independent second opinion that a patient faced significant and permanent harm if the pregnancy continued.

---... which she failed to do properly.
ironically, just below this statement I have an ad for a childhood depression study.
the child is the innocent one, stop killing the innocent one.

grammaddy 2 years, 1 month ago

" the law at the time required Tiller to obtain an independent second opinion.." TILLER- not Neuhaus.

Cait McKnelly 2 years ago

Truth is, gnome, she had lined up as a defense witness the physician that developed the system that she used to determine her decisions and recommendations. This system is widely accepted and used throughout the country. The board refused to allow him to testify.
Who they DID allow to testify was an "expert witness" who had no connection with the case whatsoever, from a CATHOLIC university and testified at state expense. Doesn't seem to me that the board did a very good job of impartially determining her "adequacy" in those exams.
I think you need to see my comment below.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 1 month ago

Actually, she had defense witnesses to prove that she had performed adequate examinations. The Board refused to allow them to testify.
This was despite the fact that the Board allowed a whack-a-doodle "expert witness" to testify for the state. Oh and by the way, the state paid $70,000 for this "expert witness" to testify.
"KSBHA agents flew in from Georgetown University a psychiatrist, who stated under oath that she could not imagine a mental health condition that would warrant an abortion, under any circumstances. This purported “expert witness” cost the Kansas taxpayers over $70,000 to arrive at this opinion..." (Georgetown is a CATHOLIC university and is rabidly anti-abortion in it's philosophy. Given that Georgetown is in Washington DC, and his ties to the Catholic community in DC, I have no doubt this is someone that Sam Brownback, himself, arranged to be brought in.)
http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/1429
These are the things you don't hear in the main stream press.

msezdsit 2 years, 1 month ago

"Actually, she had defense witnesses to prove that she had performed adequate examinations. The Board refused to allow them to testify. This was despite the fact that the Board allowed a whack-a-doodle "expert witness" to testify for the state."

Yep, and that would be the definition of a "kangaroo court"

Mike1949 2 years, 1 month ago

There are a lot from these groups you don't hear about!

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

"Actually, she had defense witnesses to prove that she had performed adequate examinations. The Board refused to allow them to testify. "

Why didn't she petition the court to force them to allow the witnesses at that time?

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 1 month ago

Because this wasn't a court hearing. It was a hearing before a licensure board. It had to play out before it could go to court (which is what it's doing now).

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 1 month ago

" 'The awful irony is the court is bending over backward to insure an abortionist is not denied the due process that thousands of unborn children and their mothers were denied in Kansas abortion clinics,' said Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director for Kansans for Life."

On the contrary, Ms.Ostrowski, Kristin Neuhaus is an adult person with the full legal rights of a citizen of the US and deserves to have her Constitutional right to a fair hearing upheld. As to your assertion regarding the women who are patients in these clinics, there has been no determination by any court that at any time their Constitutional rights were abridged. On the contrary, YOU forget that abortion is legal in this country and the fact that they had a right to access it is proof that their rights were upheld.

jhawkinsf 2 years ago

Not every person in the U.S. is entitled to every Constitutional right. People under 18 years old do not have the right to vote. No right is absolute, all the time, in every situation.

Same with abortion. If we're discussing minors ( a grey area), and we're talking late term abortions (another grey area), we're talking about things that should be debated in open forums. Obviously, courts should have the ultimate authority. Making broad statements of fact that may or may not be true aren't helpful to honest discussions.

Cait McKnelly 2 years ago

And you think that what Kathy Ostrowski said wasn't "making broad statements of fact"?

jhawkinsf 2 years ago

You are correct. I should have mentioned that as well. My fault.

msezdsit 2 years, 1 month ago

To bad she won't get a fair hearing, as the wackos have already proven. The wackos on the board should be the ones going to court to defend their lively hoods. They are the culprits. They shouln't get a free pass while destroying this women's ability to practice her medical profession and earn a living.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 1 month ago

I really hope that if she can't get a fair hearing in the Kansas courts (which is actually possible she may. Brownback doesn't own the state courts...yet.) that she takes this to the Federal courts as a civil rights case.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

"that she takes this to the Federal courts as a civil rights case."

How? What federal law guarantees a person may practice any certain occupation in America other than those on the constitution? You can't just walk into a federal court and say "She has the civil right to be a doctor, can you make the board reinstate her license?".

Your going to have to do a lot of stretching to even make it look like the feds have any authority in this case.

Kathy Getto 2 years ago

Liberty275- I am apalled you don't have the answer to this! DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY!

verity 2 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you one of the people who thinks doctors should not have to be licensed to practice? Or is that the other "Liberty"? I get you confused.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 1 month ago

Actually, there WOULD be a civil rights basis for this as it would go to a denial of a Constitutional right to due process.

In_God_we_trust 2 years ago

"The awful irony is the court is bending over backward to insure an abortionist is not denied the due process that thousands of unborn children and their mothers were denied in Kansas abortion clinics," said Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director for Kansans for Life, who attended Theis' brief hearing Friday.

Well said. The mental anguish that is life long on the women that have abortions is much greater than avoiding the killing of children that don't have the power to defend themselves. It is a great grief and great regret to know that you have ended an innocent life, when you could have been more responsible and saved and supported a life instead. (Even if your life is at risk to save them).
The mentally / emotionally damaged people that have supported abortion in the past, often seek to cover their guilt by deciding to have no regard for innocent life, or if they have dealt with their error, they stand strongly against the practice of of the killing of children (abortion). There is always a better answer than late term abortion, if you try to find it. It's not too late to change the direction of your life. Kansans for Life is a great resource for help. A good church that supports life, is also a great resource for help and spiritual help, to do the right thing. I think that there is single mother support in Lawrence as well.

Cait McKnelly 2 years ago

Much of what Ms. Ostrowski (and her supporters) are saying is reminiscent of the old saying, "There oughta be a law..."
Well, there "oughta be a law" against people imposing their unscientific religious beliefs on others who don't believe as they do. Oh wait, there is. It's called the First Amendment.

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