Southeastern PA

Expert: Abortion clinic's anesthesia policy 'reprehensible'

Doctor on trial in deaths of woman, 7 babies allegedly born alive

PHILADELPHIA - An anesthesiology professor calls it "reprehensible" that a Philadelphia abortion provider allegedly medicated women according to their ability to pay.

Dr. Andrew Herlich of the University of Pittsburgh is giving expert testimony at Dr. Kermit Gosnell's murder trial.

Gosnell is charged in the drug overdose death of a 41-year-old patient, and with killing seven babies allegedly born alive. The woman weighed only about 100 pounds and did not speak English.

Hand-scrawled clinic notes show she received two heavy doses of sedatives and narcotics, despite signs of respiratory distress after the first dose. She later died at a hospital.

Prosecutors allege that Gosnell's untrained staff let patients pick between "local," "twilight," "heavy" or "custom" anesthesia based on how much they could pay.

The defense is cross-examining Herlich on Thursday afternoon.

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