After the death of a 30-year-old woman who underwent an abortion, a previously disciplined California abortionist has been accused of gross negligence, incompetence and other legal violations. A judge has ordered him to stop performing abortions until his medical license is reviewed, while critics say their complaints were not addressed.
After a Jan. 7 hearing in San Diego, Administrative Law Judge James Ahler ordered Dr. Andrew Rutland to limit his practice to procedures other than abortion and delivering babies, the California Catholic Daily reports.
At a clinic in San Gabriel in August 2009, a woman named Ying Chen went into full cardiac arrest after a second-trimester abortion by Rutland on July 28, 2009. She died six days later at a nearby hospital.
Medical board records said she had been injected with the “dangerous” narcotic painkiller Demerol and the local anesthetic lidocaine. Her heart stopped beating and a later autopsy found that she died from lidocaine toxicity.
Judge Ahler said Rutland’s decision to perform the abortion at the San Gabriel clinic, which did not have adequate equipment to handle medical emergencies, “casts doubt on his professional judgment.”
The judge issued a ruling prohibiting Rutland from performing surgical procedures of any kind. However, he rejected the request by medical board representative Deputy Attorney General Douglas Lee that the doctor’s license should be immediately revoked.
Luis Mendoza, a pro-life advocate who conducts sidewalk counseling outside the Chula Vista clinic where Rutland operates, said that the medical board could have saved the woman’s life had it acted promptly on complaints filed about Rutland’s activities at the abortion facility.
“We complained that he was violating the terms of his probation by practicing medicine in the Chula Vista clinic without another doctor being present,” he said in an e-mail to San Diego-area pro-lifers. “Rutland overdosed the poor woman on July 28th. Four months after our complaint. A cease and desist order should have been issued against Rutland before the woman was killed.”
Mendoza reported he had received a call from the medical board in November, eight months after the original complaint. The board said that the investigation had been completed and the results had been forwarded to the attorney general.
At the time of Ying Chen’s death, Rutland was on five years of probation by the California Medical Board.
In 2002 he surrendered his medical license after investigations into the death of two newborns shortly after they had been delivered by Rutland, the California Catholic Daily reports. He was also accused of performing unnecessary hysterectomies, lying to patients, and having sexual relations with a patient in his office.
His license was later reinstated on the condition that he not practice medicine unless he was under the supervision of another qualified physician. Some of his former patients were outraged when he was reinstated, the Orange County Register reported.
One of the infants who died in his care, Jillian Broussard, had her spinal cord injured by forceps during her 1999 delivery. She died a week later.
Jillian’s father, Scott Broussard, said he and his wife were very disappointed that Rutland was allowed to practice again. The doctor had insisted Jillian had suffered a stroke.
Broussard told the Register the new allegation “doesn’t surprise me at all.”
“There’s the making of a mistake, but then there’s the way that it was made and the reaction by him afterward. He was not a man of honor or integrity… The responsibility for this death is on the medical board, to be shared with Dr. Rutland. They’re supposed to protect the public and they have failed.”