Daily Updates

April 17, 2013

Relatives describe women’s death after PA abortion

PHILADELPHIA — Karnamaya Mongar survived 20 years in a refugee camp after fleeing war-torn Bhutan, but died months after arriving in the U.S. in 2009 and seeking an abortion.

Mongar, 41, is the subject of one of eight murder counts in the ongoing Philadelphia trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell, an abortion provider, is also charged with killing seven babies allegedly born alive.

Through a translator, Mongar’s daughter testified Tuesday about the labor-inducing drugs and painkillers her mother was given as she waited hours for Gosnell to arrive one night for the second-trimester procedure.

Yashoda Gurung, now 24, had stayed with her mother in a waiting area, and tried to say goodbye before her mother was moved to the procedure room.  

“My mom was sleeping. That’s what I thought. I tried to wake her up and the lady said, ‘Leave her alone,’ Gurung told jurors Tuesday, speaking through a translator.

Prosecutors believe Gosnell’s untrained, unlicensed staff gave the 4-foot, 11-inch Mongar a lethal combination of oral and intravenous drugs, and failed to properly monitor her vital signs or attempt to resuscitate her when things went wrong. She was pronounced dead the next day at a hospital.

“They said, ‘I’m sorry. The situation was bad when we got her,”’ another relative, Damber Ghalley, testified.

Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack McMahon, has argued that Mongar had unreported respiratory damage and died of unforeseen complications. Mongar was 19 weeks pregnant, well within the 24-week limit in Pennsylvania.

Ghalley, who had waited outside, said he talked to Gosnell as Mongar was being carried out to an ambulance, and Gosnell insisted he had done nothing wrong.

“He said, ‘The procedure was done. Your sister’s heart stopped,”’ said Ghalley, who had driven Mongar and her daughter to the clinic from their home in rural Virginia, five hours away.

Clinic employee Sherry West jumped in Ghalley’s car to accompany the family to the hospital. She said everything would be fine, Gurung testified. But the next day, doctors told the family otherwise. Mongar had died.

Ghalley said he saw Gosnell outside the hospital picking up West.

“He said the same thing: The procedure was done. I didn’t do anything wrong. I would be able to answer any person, anywhere,” Ghalley recalled. “He did not express any sympathy.”

On cross-examination, Gurung conceded that the staff had checked on her mother as they sat together in the clinic’s waiting area, and had her blood pressure taken. Prosecutors have alleged during the monthlong trial that no one properly monitored patients at the clinic.

In addition to the murder charges, Gosnell is also charged with violating Pennsylvania abortion law by performing abortions after 24 weeks.

Mongar’s family has a wrongful-death lawsuit pending against Gosnell.

 

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