Testimony: Gosnell reused disposable instruments, falsified records: Update: Nurse saw more than 10 babies breathing

Testimony continued in the trial of Kermit Gosnell yesterday, which continues to expose the risks to community health represented by the clinic and the state’s refusal to properly regulate it.  Gosnell used plastic instruments in his abortions that are intended as single-use, but would re-use them on women despite the risk of STDs, a staffer told the jury:


Lewis indicated that Gosnell’s equipment was outdated and never inspected, and that he often reused disposable curettes, which is the sharp-ended tube that enters the womb in abortion procedures and applies suction for the removal of the pre-born baby and other tissues and fluids.

Lewis testified that the curettes were washed, dried and placed in an antiseptic solution, then reused. The curettes are meant to be disposable and for single use only. She indicated that she noticed that women who had abortions using the reused curettes began returning to the clinic suffering from sexually transmitted diseases.

Earlier testimony indicated that plastic curettes are more porous than metal surgical instruments and simply cannot be adequately cleaned for reuse.

Gosnell also falsified records to cover up the illegal abortions he conducted at the clinic:

In general, ultrasound measurements showing the biparietal diameter, or BPD, which is the measurement across the baby’s head, varied from 53-75.8 mm. This measurement is used to determine fetal age. However, recorded in the charts almost uniformly was the fetal age of 24.5 weeks.

According to a chart found on the Internet, 53 mm BPD equates roughly to 22 weeks gestation. A 75.8 mm BPD would represent 29-30 weeks gestation both ends of the spectrum were noted as representing fetal ages of 24.5 weeks in the charts.

These are the kinds of details that would have interested regulators in Pennsylvania … had they been interested in Gosnell at all. Speaking of interest, coverage of the case should be picking up as the national media got shamed into reporting on it.  But one national outlet has already bailed on the trial.  Guess which?


No sooner did the New York Times send a reporter to cover the murder trial of embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell did the Gray Lady pull the reporter from daily coverage. Instead, the venerable newspaper will cover only “highlights” of the trail, which has weeks left to go.

Local reporter JD Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times, sent a tweet late Wednesday afternoon indicating the Times was pulling its reporter.

“New York Times bails on daily coverage #Gosnell trial. Will cover “highlights” only,” he wrote.

New York Times bails on daily coverage#Gosnell trial. Will cover “highlights” only.

— jdmullane (@jdmullane) April 17, 2013

Mullane indicated other mainstream media outlets would continue covering the abortion doctor’s trial: “Phila Inquirer, CNN, Reuters, WaPo, AP, NBC10, Phila Mag, other scribes still attending #Gosnell trial.”

What a shock.

Jennifer Rubin says the media problem isn’t limited to the Gosnell trial or abortion, either:

Indeed the botched coverage of Easter by the New York Times which Cannon references in his piece is not unusual. It is something of a joke among observant Christians and Jews that “religion” coverage in the mainstream media would be immensely improved if it had more people who were actually religious. Alas, a great deal of what passes for religion coverage these days is complaints about the Catholic Church’s anti-abortion stance, the doings of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel and the antics of the most intolerant Christians they can uncover. It’s not that all of this isn’t deserving of some coverage, but the absence of understanding, empathy and personal experience with regard to people of faith is striking.

Would a newspaper send someone to cover the symphony who never played an instrument, rarely went and viewed it is culturally irrelevant? In that case such a person would be viewed as biased, indeed unqualified; in the case of religion, the un-religious or anti-religious person is cheered as a “critical voice.”

The notion that one can simply put biases aside (on religion, politics, abortion or anything else) is a bit silly if the biases aren’t recognized as such and everyone around you has the same views (more or less). In recent decades there has been a push for more racial, ethnic and gender diversity in newsrooms, but virtually no effort to incorporate geographic, cultural, political, social and religious diversity. That makes for newsrooms that are at the very least more likely to ignore or distort the views and lives of rural, religious, pro-life, non-college educated and conservative Americans. In age, beliefs, religion, educational level, income, military service and many other indices, journalists in major outlets are unrepresentative, enormously so, of the country at large.


It’s the Pauline Kael Syndrome writ large in the media.

Update: The Associated Press issued this update from today’s direct testimony:

A former abortion clinic worker has capped the murder trial of her former boss with testimony that she saw more than 10 babies breathe before they were killed.

Kareema Cross is the final prosecution witness against Dr. Kermit Gosnell. She says she saw the babies’ chests move but was told by Gosnell they were not breathing.

She also says she saw three babies move their arms and legs and heard a fourth give a soft whine.

Cross says she was so upset by clinic procedures that she took photos and called authorities.

My oh my, it’s too bad the NY Times wasn’t there for this scoop, huh? The defense has an opportunity today and tomorrow to cross-examine Cross, but if they can’t rattle her into retracting her statements, Gosnell is in very deep trouble.

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