By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
August 1, 2013
ASHEVILLE — An Asheville abortion clinic has been shut down after Department of Health and Human Services inspectors found “egregious violations of existing rules that revealed an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients.”
The move, the result of a routine inspection July 18 and 19, comes in the wake of the General Assembly’s approval of a bill raising health and safety standards at such facilities. FemCare Inc. is the third abortion clinic in the state to have its license suspended since May.
“Obviously these clinics have been operating with very little oversight, and the findings in this and other reports show more stringent regulations are definitely in order,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Lawmakers who voted for
S 353 – Health and Safety Law Changes, were chastised and ridiculed. But without a doubt, they made the right decision as did the Governor when he signed the bill.”
According to the state’s report, FemCare failed to ensure that anesthesia was administered safely, failed to have contracts with an anesthetist or pharmacist, failed to ensure staff were trained in use of a defibrillator, failed to have a Director of Nursing and organized nursing staff and more.
“Nasal masks used for the administration of nitrous oxide were torn and not intact,” and “tubing was taped in layers at all connection sites,” the report stated, concluding that the “health, safety, and welfare of all patients is at risk of not being fully sedated during surgical procedures leading to pain and movement resulting in harm.”
Further violations involved failure to follow standard infection control practices, failure to adequately mop operating room floors, and failure to have a quality assurance committee in place.
Inspectors found a “thick layer of dust on the equipment and horizontal surfaces in the operating rooms,” describing it in parts of the report as so thick that it “rolled up when touched.”
According to the report, a volunteer with no medical background or related work experience had been sterilizing the surgical instruments for the past year, with no evidence that the person had received any training or competency checks. At least one nurse working at the facility had not been tested for tuberculosis in the last year.
The 40-plus page report detailed FemCare’s failure to comply with 23 different regulations for ambulatory surgery centers. The facility had not undergone a licensure inspection since 2007. That visit was a follow-up to a 2006 failed inspection for personnel and quality assurance rules violations.
Dr. Lorraine Cummings is the clinic’s owner and apparently a solo practitioner. Her license to operate FemCare was suspended Wednesday. Documents reveal she has 10 days to show proof that clinic operations have been brought into compliance.