Abortion Provider: P. Scott Ricke

P. Scott Ricke managed to get himself into virtually all the kinds of trouble doctors get themselves into — facing allegations of abortion malpractice, sexual misconduct, substance abuse, sloppy record-keeping, letting unlicensed staff practice medicine, improper disposal of fetuses, and even obstetric malpractice.

Sexual misconduct

Ricke was censured by the medical board of Arizona in November of 1986 for performing an after-hours abortion on a woman while alone with her, and for reportedly having sex with her first. Despite this censure, and the sexual relationship with patient K.L. which Ricke’s attorney confirmed, Ricke went on record as saying, “I believe that if a woman decides to have a termination, it should be done safely, legally and with some dignity.”

The very next year saw Ricke in trouble over a relationship with a 25-year-old patient identified as “K.L.” In 1987, Ricke had sexual intercourse with K.L. in her home four days after he performed her May 2, 1987 abortion and had given her written instructions to abstain from intercourse for a week. He then offered to do a free pap smear during her upcoming follow-up appointment. Ricke reportedly indicated he felt the doctor-patient relationship ended when they had sex, but that’s not consistent with the offer of a free pap smear. K. reportedly said “I felt trusting of him because he was a doctor.” Ricke’s attorney reportedly contended that Ricke did not have sex with K. during the course of treatment and therefore was guilty of poor judgment but not of causing any harm. The attorney is also said to have indicated that Ricke had sex with K. only because of her responses to his questioning about her enjoyment of sex and her receptiveness to his visiting her later at her home. This incident might relate to the action taken by the Medical Board in 1987.

(Sources: Phoenix Gazette 8-13-87, 8-14-87, 8-15-87, 9-12-87 et. al., Arizona Republic, Tucson Citizen 8-13-87; 3158 – Arizona Daily Star 6-21-87 et. al.)

But Ricke faced more than censure for unseemly sexual interest in his abortion patients. Another patient, identified as “A.M.,” reported him to the medical board. I’ll call her “Andi.”

Andi, age 31, said that she had an abortion performed by Ricke at Women’s Surgical Clinic on September 22, 1992. The staff had her fill out and sign papers she did not understand and which were not explained to her. When she requested anesthesia, she said, Ricke told her that it was unnecessary and that it would also cost an additional $15, which Andi didn’t have. The suction machine struck A as dirty and bloody.

Andi was unprepared for the terrible pain of her abortion. She was discharged after 15 minutes in recovery without being examined or given any medications or arrangements for follow-up.

After leaving the facility, Andi became ill, with bleeding, and sought advise of another doctor, who recommended a second procedure to remove retained tissues.

Andi could not afford this procedure, so she contacted Women’s Surgical Clinic and was told Ricke might not be able to see her in upcoming days because of patient load. Andi drove to the clinic, explained her situation to some people outside, and on their recommendation she sought hospital care at their expense. Medical records indicate retained tissues, including necrotic portions, removed during a curretage procedure. The medical board dismissed the matter. (Affidavit, medical records, correspondence with board, and transcript of interview with patient)

(Sources: Phoenix Gazette 8-13-87, 8-14-87, 8-15-87, 9-12-87 et. al., Arizona Republic, Tucson Citizen 8-13-87; 3158 – Arizona Daily Star 6-21-87 et. al.)

Abortion malpractice and more: Shanda’s case

More trouble came down on Ricke regarding his dubious care of a patient I’ll call “Shanda,” identified by the authorities as “S.P.”

Shanda was 25 years old when she went to Ricke for an abortion on February 7, 1987 at his Women’s Surgical Clinic in Arizona.

During the abortion, Shanda said, the head of the fetus became lodged. She was screaming in pain, but Ricke refused her request for painkillers by telling her that he didn’t have any. She asked to be taken to a hospital, but Ricke told her that since her pregnancy was more than 24 weeks along, beyond the 24 week limit most hospitals observed, no hospital would take her.

Ricke made as many as 40 unsuccessful attempts to start an IV, and asked Shanda for advice about how to deal with the lodged head (wanting her to decide if crushing the head would be the right course of action).

After three hours of attempts to remove the head, Ricke wrapped the body of the fetus — which was hanging out of Shanda’s vagina — in a towel, and loaded Shanda into an employee’s car to be transported to the hospital.

The Assistant Arizona Attorney General investigated the case, and asserted that during the three hours he spent trying to dislodge Shanda’s fetus, Ricke left her several times to do other abortions. After packing Shanda into a private car for transport, Ricke remained behind at his clinic to do three more abortions before following Shanda to the hospital and completing her abortion there.

The Assistant Attorney General said that by attempting to abort a 28-week, 2.4-pound fetus in this manner, he failed to minimize risks and jeopardized Shanda’s health. Ricke’s attorney countered that the fetus was only 24 weeks old, and that it had a less than 50% chance of survival. Ricke was disciplined by the medical board.

(Sources: Phoenix Gazette 8-13-87, 8-14-87, 8-15-87, 9-12-87 et. al., Arizona Republic, Tucson Citizen 8-13-87; 3158 – Arizona Daily Star 6-21-87 et. al.)

Assorted other allegations

Melody B., one of Ricke’s obstetric patients, alleged failure to diagnose her pregnancy as high-risk, failure to properly test and monitor mother and fetus, and failure to diagnose and respond to fetal distress. These shortcomings, Melody said, resulted in brain damage and other injuries to infant Jeffrey, born April 6, 1986 under Ricke’s care. (Pima County, AZ Case No. 280629)

A 1988 article in the Arizona Daily Star indicates that in 1988, two analysts recommended that Ricke undergo extensive therapy because of drug and alcohol problems.

Ricke reportedly had an unlicensed person, introduced to patients as Dr. Lopez, examining patients in his office. Ricke also had inadequate records. Ricke’s attorney countered that Lopez, a Mexican medical school graduate, was hired as a nurse.

Ricke was investigated by police when fetal remains were found in the trash receptacle of an apartment complex; such disposal violated state health department regulations and state law.

A search at the Web site of the Arizona medical board found the following list of disciplinary actions against Ricke:

* 11/20/1986: Decree of Censure – Unprofessional Conduct (Failure to maintain adequate patient records; conduct harmful or dangerous to the patient’s health).

* 11/20/1986: Consent Agreement -Practice Restriction (female chaperone; no patient care outside office hours; must be assisted for all surgical procedures; maintain adequate records) 10/22/92-Agreement terminated

* 06/27/1987: Summary Suspension of License – Unprofessional Conduct (conduct or practice harmful or dangerous to the health of the patient/public). 10/15/87 – License reactivated under probationary status.

* 10/15/1987: Probation 5yrs – Unprofessional Conduct (submit to psychiatric examinations; practice restrictions regarding all aspects of abortion practice). 1/14/88 – Amendment. 10/22/92 Probation terminated.

* 11/12/1996: Letter of Reprimand – Unprofessional Conduct (violation of federal/state laws applicable to the practice of medicine; failing to dispense drugs in compliance with article 6 of A.R.S. 32-1401(25)(kk)).

A search of the California medical board site found the following entries on Ricke:

* Licensee Name P SCOTT RICKE
* Primary License Status Code RENEWED/CURRENT | ENFORCEMENT
* License Number C37788
* Address [Redacted by Guide]
* City State Zip TUCSON AZ 85750
* Original License Date 11/23/1977
* License Expiration Date 06/30/2002
* Effective Date of Action 11/03/1989
* Effective Date of Action 11/12/1996
* Effective Date of Action 09/05/1997
* Description of Action: PUBLIC LETTER OF REPRIMAND.

(Sources: Phoenix Gazette 8-13-87, 8-14-87, 8-15-87, 9-12-87 et. al., Arizona Republic, Tucson Citizen 8-13-87; 3158 – Arizona Daily Star 6-21-87 et. al.)

Note: Ricke now bills himself as an expert on cosmetic issues, including weight loss (he has written a weight loss book for teens which can be found here. The bio says that he is “board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology” but does not mention his abortion malpractice suits.

Credit: Christina Dunigan



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2 thoughts on “Abortion Provider: P. Scott Ricke”

  1. I am very familiar with Dr. Ricke, his work and his professional/legal records. There are many false allegations about him on line, that are cited as being substantiated, but most are in fact, totally untrue or were thrown out by the medical board for being completely made up, unsubstantiated and without merit. He hasn’t performed an abortion since 1986 – that’s nearly 30 years!!!!! When are you so-called ‘Christians’ going to stop vilifying and crucifying him? Why don’t you back off – he isn’t going to perform abortions again and he is not a ‘threat’ to any fetus or pregnancy, so continuing to post these things is a blatant smear campaign for no benefit but your own twisted need to totally destroy him. He is a darn good physician and surgeon, so it’s time for all of you who hate him to back off and allow him to practice medicine without you continuing to follow him around online in order to destroy his practice. I am a Christian and know that Christ instructed us to forgive. It’s about time for you to do the same.

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