News & Politics

Louisiana Suspends Abortion Doctor Whose Nurse Killed a Baby During Ultrasound Check-Up

Dr. Kevin Work examines Claudia Cruz using an ultrasound in his office in New Orleans Monday, Dec. 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

On Tuesday, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) suspended the medical license of Dr. Kevin Govan Work, an abortionist who has reportedly been performing abortions at Delta Women’s Clinic in Baton Rouge and Women’s Healthcare Center in New Orleans since January 2019. Among other things, Work authorized his nurse to use his signature to say he had seen patients he had not seen. His nurse once gave abortion-inducing pills to a pregnant woman who came in for an ultrasound.

Both Louisiana Right to Life and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wrote letters urging LSBME to investigate Dr. Work. Both celebrated the suspension.

“This news highlights that many abortion clinics are putting women at risk by hiring substandard doctors,” Landry told PJ Media on Wednesday. “We believe the allegations against Dr. Work underscore our arguments in defense of common sense regulations like requiring abortionists to obtain admitting privileges. We will continue to work hard to protect women and their unborn children.”

Landry added, “It is wrong to simply assume, as some argue, that abortion is safe. No procedure is safe when it’s hands of an incompetent or substandard doctor.”

“We applaud the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners for their prompt action in investigating Dr. Kevin Work and taking emergency action to protect the safety of the public,” Benjamin Clapper, executive director at Louisiana Right to Life, said in a statement.

Dr. Kevin Work had been suspended on four separate occasions. In 2017, Dr. Work told LSBME he was unable to satisfy a condition from an earlier consent order, passing the certification exam in Obstetrics and Gynecology, but he asked to have his medical license reinstated for the area of wound care. His license was reinstated on probation for two years from June 20, 2017, on the condition that he only practice wound care, not abortion.

Both Louisiana Right to Life and AG Landry noted that Dr. Kevin Work had returned to work performing abortions.

“Even more concerning than Dr. Work’s potential violation of his probation is the abortion facilities’ apparent decision to hire a physician on probation with a troubled past,” Clapper, the Right to Life director, said. “Did the abortion facilities review information about Dr. Work prior to hiring him? If so, did they inform their clients of Dr. Work’s history and probation status? It appears Dr. Work’s presence is another indication that these abortion facilities are for-profit businesses willing to cut corners when it comes to the health and safety of their clients.”

Clapper called on the Louisiana legislature and the state health department to examine these situations and consider laws or policies to force abortion clinics to better vet their abortionists.

In his letter to LSBME, AG Landry noted that Dr. Kevin Work “has been the subject of multiple disciplinary orders by the LSBME for, among other things, ‘prescribing, dispensing, or administering legally controlled substances or any dependency-inducing medication without legitimate medical justification,’ ‘knowingly performing any act which … assists an unlicensed person to practice medicine, or having professional connection with or lending one’s name to an illegal practitioner,’ and violating the terms of a consent order.”

Dr. Kevin Work had “allowed the use of his signature for visit notices and prescriptions, and represented in the medical record and in his claims to Medicaid that he had seen patients himself during visits when he had not.”

The most glaring situation came in March 2010, however. AG Landry included it in his letter, quoting the situation from a malpractice action against the abortionist.

On March 5, 2010, [Patient A] and the alleged father of her unborn child, … visited Dr. Kevin Work’s medical office on Canal Street for a routine visit and an ultrasound. Ms. Heyzel Retana, a nurse working in Dr. Work’s office, instructed [Patient A] to ingest three white pills. When [Patient A] asked aobu the reason for the pills, Ms. Retana allegedly stated that the pills were “to allow the uterus to contract and just go ahead and take them.” [Patient A] suffered abdominal cramps and contractions after ingetsing the pills administered. While in the exam room, [Patient A] informed Ms. Retana that she was there for an ultrasound. Then Ms. Retana allegedly instructed [Patient A] to regurgitate the pills. Following a pelvic exam, Dr. Work prescribed medication for an infection. Later that evening, [Patient A’s spouse] took [Patient A] to the emergency room at Ochsner Medical Center — West Bank, in Gretna, Louisiana. [Patient A’s] unborn baby, determined to be sixteen weeks and six days along, died.

Dr. Work’s flagrant violation of his probation is just one more instance in a long list of medical abuses. In the order to suspend his license, the LSBME “concluded that pending the institution and conclusion of formal administrative procedures herein, emergency action is imperative to safeguard the public health, welfare and safety.”

The suspension of Dr. Kevin Work’s medical license is indeed necessary to protect the women who go to his abortion clinics. Cases like this show just how important it is for abortion doctors to meet high medical standards.

Yet Dr. Kevin Work is not alone — AG Landry also named Dr. Nsikan M. St. Martin, Work’s colleague. “Public records show Dr. St. Martin was arrested in late-2015 on charges of possession of schedule I marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of schedule IV (alprazolam), possession of schedule II (mephelyphenidate) (sic), possession of a firearm in the presence of CDS [controlled dangerous substance], and violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substance Law,” Landry wrote.

Despite his possession of these drugs and his possession of firearms with them, Dr. St. Martin was not disciplined by the LSBME.

These unethical abortionists are far from the first. The infamous Kermit Gosnell ran an abortion clinic dubbed the “house of horrors,” and was convicted of killing multiple children born alive in botched abortions. His story may be the worst, but it’s far from the only one.

Abortion activist groups like Planned Parenthood argue that abortion is vital for women’s health. If so, why do they oppose bills to require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals or other such medical certifications? Shouldn’t abortion clinics be held to high medical standards? Even discounting the baby who dies, abortion can cause many medical complications for the mother.

It seems particularly telling that Planned Parenthood opposes these kinds of protections for women’s health. Instead of demanding that abortion doctors raise their standards, Planned Parenthood demands that states lower them — in the name of abortion access, in the name of women’s health.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.