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Michigan lawmakers say conflict of interest let clinic stay open

Michigan residents may remember hearing back in December that an abortion clinic in Muskegon was shuttered after police discovered unsanitary and unsafe conditions there. Now Michigan lawmakers are saying that the doctor who ran this clinic had been previously accused of botching abortions and potentially harming patients, but because he had a connection on the state Board of Medicine he was never properly investigated.

Back in 2009, the Michigan Board of Medicine received a complaint about multiple botched abortions at the clinic--including one involving a woman whose uterus was ruptured--but the board declined to investigate the allegations.

Michigan state lawmakers held a committee meeting last week in which the case was brought up in a discussion of procedures for licensing and regulating doctors.

When the complaint regarding the botched abortions was directed to the Board of Medicine, the then board chairman said he looked into the complaint and found that it did not need to be formally investigated. It has now turned out that this board chairman had a relationship with the doctor--the chairman had served as his mentor and helped him to obtain his license after getting out of prison for distributing illegal prescriptions in the 1990s.

After this information was revealed, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs asked the current board chairperson whether the case should be reopened. This chairman thought it was not necessary.

Lawmakers have now criticized the system that allowed this doctor and his clinic to skirt investigations.

It remains to be seen whether any legislation will come out of that committee meeting. While the state's system for regulating doctors may need some work, it is important that Michigan residents know that they can often hold doctors accountable for medical malpractice on their own with the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney.

When doctors fail to uphold the standards of their profession and patients are injured as a result, patients may wish to seek legal counsel. Filing a medical malpractice claim can often result in compensation for any medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Source: Mlive.com, "Conflict of interest may have benefited doctor of 'filthy' Muskegon abortion clinic," Melissa Anders, April 30, 2013

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