Abortion Provider: Gerald Applegate

Julie Speicher, the mother of two small children, went to abortionist Gerald Applegate (who also took care of women with wanted pregnancies) on February 24, 2000 for a routine monthly checkup because she was five months pregnant with her third child. During this checkup, Applegate determined that her unborn child had died, and decided to perform the removal procedure, called an evacuation, in his office, but it failed. The next day, Applegate tried to remove the preborn child again. But Speicher’s condition deteriorated and she stopped breathing.

Applegate called 911, and paramedics inserted a breathing tube and took her to UPMC Passavant Hospital, where she died the next day, February 26, 2002.

The Allegheny County coroner’s office classified Speicher’s death as a “therapeutic misadventure.” She was 32 and left behind her husband, their son, Adam, 6, and daughter, Alyssa, 4.

In December 2001, Speicher’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Applegate and UPMC Passavant Hospital, alleging that Applegate improperly started the operation in his North Hills office and was unprepared for the emergency that resulted. The suit says that Applegate should have begun the operation in a hospital because he and his staff were unable to deal with an emergency in the office. He had no nurse-anesthetist, did not monitor Speicher’s vital signs, did no blood testing and, when Speicher stopped breathing, didn’t know how to intubate her because he’d never done it, according to the suit. The abortionist also did not perform a procedure called osmotic dilation to soften the cervix, which the suit said is a mandatory precaution in second trimester evacuations.

The suit also says that Applegate lied about his previous lawsuits when he applied for staff privileges at Passavant, and that Passavant knew about Applegate’s problems and allowed him to stay on the staff.

Abortionist Applegate has a long history of hospital suspensions and malpractice lawsuits and was under suspension by Magee-Womens Hospital at the time of the operation. Applegate, who still has staff privileges at UPMC Passavant and Magee, had been under a three-month suspension by Magee at the time of the procedure, according to the suit, because of failure to respond to pages to deliver babies. He didn’t tell Speicher about the suspension, however, and used a Magee consent form for the procedure. Because Magee operated the obstetrics unit at Passavant, according to the suit, Applegate’s suspension at Magee meant he should have been prevented from using the Passavant facility. According to the suit, he also used his own equipment at Passavant, a violation of hospital policy.

The suit alleges that Applegate lied on his original 1993 application for privileges at Passavant by claiming he had no lawsuits against him when he actually had five. He was kept on junior active status for three years instead of one because he had 43 violations for failure to complete hospital charts on time, the suit says.

In all, Applegate has had nine medical malpractice lawsuits brought against him in 10 years and has changed insurance carriers three times, according to the suit, but Passavant did not suspend him.

References: Torsten Ove. “Young Mother’s Death Brings Lawsuit.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 18, 2001; “Abortion Practitioner Sued for Killing Woman After Miscarriage.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 18, 2001; Steven Ertelt’s Pro-Life Infonet at http://www.prolifeinfo.org/infonet.html, December 19, 2001.

Source: Abortioviolence.com

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