Medical examiner testifies in Philly abortion death
PHILADELPHIA — A medical examiner changed the cause of an abortion patient's death from “accidental” overdose to “homicide” as prosecutors investigated the abortion provider, a jury heard on Wednesday at the doctor's murder trial.
Assistant Philadelphia Medical Examiner Gary Collins said he ruled the November 2009 death an accident on an August 2010 death certificate. But he said he changed the cause to homicide after reviewing clinic records and witness statements.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell is charged with third-degree murder in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee from Bhutan. Prosecutors accuse him of letting untrained, unlicensed staff administer anesthesia drugs and painkillers.
Gosnell is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of seven babies allegedly killed after they were born alive.
Testimony this week has focused on Mongar's death. A toxicology expert testified on Tuesday that she died of an overdose of the painkiller Demerol and had an amount in her system that was nearly five times the level recorded in clinic records.
Defense lawyer Jack McMahon has suggested that Mongar had undisclosed respiratory problems that could have caused fatal complications.
Collins found some lung issues when he performed Mongar's autopsy but said they had nothing to do with her death.
“It's not a significant finding,” Collins said.
Mongar, whose family had spent 20 years in refugee camps in Nepal, had come to the United States in July through a refugee resettlement program. She and her husband and three children were sent to rural Virginia, where her husband worked on a chicken farm.
McMahon will continue to cross-examine Collins on Thursday before the trial breaks for a long weekend. The trial, now in its second week, is expected to last for about two months.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LCB follows Wolf’s lead, votes to prohibit all gifts
- Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf to sign order barring drilling of new oil, gas wells in state forests, parks
- Popular Super Bowl, March Madness traditions prohibited under state law
- Pennsylvania’s teacher pension system scores D plus, National Council on Teacher Quality says
- Officials dissent on whether offices can prohibit, charge to photograph public record documents
- ‘Free’ wine kiosk initiative costs state Liquor Control Board $300K
- State court blocks release of emails between Freeh investigators, AG’s office
- DNC brass scoot into Philly to hear city’s pitch
- State senator seeks coverage numbers from 5 insurers