I am using the Grand Jury Report on the crimes of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell as the basis of this Wiki. I will add material to support my contention that though Gosnell is beyond the pale, this is mainly in the way he combined and refined aspects of the ghoulish and callous disregard for humanity often seen in abortionists. He was hardly a pioneer.

In order to distinguish between my own writings, and those of the Grand Jury, I will use a different font that makes the Grand Jury Report appear to be typed.

Dr. Donald Schwarz, a pediatrician, was former head of adolescent services at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; he also was the directing physician of a private practice in West Philadelphia; he is Philadelphia's current Health Commissioner

In 1996 or 1997, Dr. Schwarz hand-delivered a complaint to the secretary of health's administrative assistant, after he and his physician partners noticed that patients referred to Women's Medical Society for abortions were returning infected with trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted parasite. Dr. Schwarz had sent a social worker to Gosnell's clinic, and based on this visit, he also stopped referring patients there.

We are very troubled that state health officials ignored this respected physician’s report that girls were becoming infected with sexually transmitted diseases at Gosnell’s clinic when they had abortions there. If Dr. Schwarz’s complaint did not trigger an inspection, we are convinced that none would.

We also do not understand how a report of this magnitude was not at least added to Gosnell’s file at the state department of health. It suggests to us that there may have been many more complaints that were never turned over to the Grand Jury.

In regards to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's failure to take action over Gosnell's violations regarding infectious waste, Commissioner Schwarz tried, unsatisfactorily, to explain why the city never enforced the regulations that purport to protect staff, patients, the community, and the environment. Protection of the public, according to Dr. Schwarz’s testimony, was not the real intent behind the regulations. The impetus for requiring doctors to have infectious waste plans approved by the city was not public health; it was revenue. He said that sometime around 2004-2005, they stopped trying to enforce the regulation.

The health commissioner’s testimony might explain why the department did not pursue Gosnell for his failure to submit an adequate infectious waste plan or pay his fee. But it does not explain the department’s inaction after an inspector observed and reported Gosnell’s perilous storage and disposal of infectious waste in May 2004 (and probably in 2003, though we did not see that report).

Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner told the Grand Jury that he is taking steps to improve the department’s procedures.

Dr. Schwarz, Philadelphia’s health commissioner since January 2008, testified twice before the Grand Jury. He expressed appropriate regret for his department’s inaction. And he personally took responsibility. We found refreshing his acknowledgement of fault, his candor, and his evident efforts, at least since being called before the Grand Jury, to find out how and why his agency failed to protect the West Philadelphia community from a notoriously dangerous doctor.

But while he accepted responsibility personally, Dr. Schwarz seemed to excuse department employees who ignored the serious – and obvious – threat to public health posed by Gosnell’s clinic, and he provided feeble excuses for their inaction.

When Dr. Schwarz testified the first time before the Grand Jury, he should have known that many department employees were well aware of Gosnell’s operation. He should have known this because professionals within the department who had information about the dangerous conditions in Gosnell’s clinic should have told him. The health commissioner assured the Grand Jury that the department is now taking steps to address problems that prevented the department from responding as it should have. He identified structural problems – and a corresponding mentality among health department employees – that contributed to the city health department’s ineffectual handling of complaints about Gosnell....

The city health commissioner also identified a more troubling problem. Although he phrased it more diplomatically, what he was describing was an “it’s-not-in-my-job-description” mindset displayed by many department employees....

Dr. Schwarz also told the Grand Jury that the city health department is limited in what it can do in response to complaints about medical providers....

We understand that the city health department did not have the authority to investigate all of the things that were wrong in Gosnell’s clinic. If a patient called up to complain that they were treated badly at Women’s Medical Society, or that Gosnell was violating the Abortion Control Act in some way, the health department would not have jurisdiction. But it could certainly submit complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of State and demand that they be investigated. Furthermore, some issues were directly within the department’s purview – such as the infectious waste problems and the circumstances of Mrs. Mongar’s death. The latter gave the Medical Examiner’s office authority to inspect the facility and to ask questions in order to investigate the manner of death. At the very least, the department’s overall mission – to protect public health in Philadelphia – ought to have prompted more responsiveness and sharing of information about the reckless doctor in West Philadelphia.

Regarding the responsibilities of his department, the city health commissioner displayed a very different attitude from that of the state officials who testified. He did not, for the most part, try to evade accountability – or work – by claiming that his agency lacked authority to do certain things. In fact, he suggested ways to fill gaps in responsibility that Gosnell fell through. He expressed an interest in increasing accountability, responsiveness, and communication among the various local and state agencies.

Even though the city lacks the authority to regulate doctors or abortion clinics, Dr. Schwarz recognized that the Department of Public Health should have a system in place, which it now does not have, to handle calls made by Philadelphia residents to complain about Philadelphia medical providers....

Dr. Schwarz testified that he sees a role for the city health department in cataloging complaints and helping patients of Philadelphia doctors refer complaints to the proper authorities.... The health commissioner told the Grand Jury that his department is already considering ways to help callers register their complaints with the proper authority. The process, he said, should include a response to the individual who filed the complaint, letting them know that it was received and what is being done about it.

Dr. Schwarz suggested the health department might fill another gap by conducting routine sanitation and safety inspections of doctors’ offices and clinics. Neither the state nor the city currently inspects them. The city health department does inspect some institutions, such as day care centers, prisons, and schools. It inspects the food services at hospitals, though not the hospitals themselves. Dr. Schwarz acknowledged that the city health department probably could step into that role, although not without hiring more inspectors.

The Grand Jurors hope the health commissioner follows through on his suggestions. We also wish state officials showed as much eagerness to address the bureaucratic deficiencies and neglect that, for decades, allowed someone like Gosnell to wantonly break laws, harm and endanger women, and kill viable babies in the secure knowledge that no official overseer would intervene to stop him.