Untrained and originally hired to clean instruments, Lynda Williams, 43, was an unlikely candidate for the position of anesthesiologist anywhere but the Women’s Medical Society, a shop of horrors abortion clinic in West Philadelphia run by a family practice physician, 70 year old Kermit Gosnell. But at the clinic anyone with a pulse could fill the role, with devastating results. Williams pleaded guilty Thursday before Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner to counts of third-degree murder involving the 2009 anesthesia related death of a woman undergoing an abortion and the killing of a newborn. She also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to participate in a corrupt organization, and illegally administering drugs to women undergoing abortions.
According to grand jury testimony (click link or scroll down to read) Williams, a 9th grade drop out, had little sense of responsibility in her role and the only licensed health care provider working at the facility, Gosnell, “didn’t care” what she was doing and more often than not was not present at the facility while Williams was injecting patients with dangerous anesthesia drugs.
Ashley Baldwin, a high school student who worked nights at the facility administering anesthesia, created a hand written color coded reference which became the guideline for all of the other equally untrained employees who administered anesthesia. At THIS medical clinic not even a high school diploma was required to be able to administer an anesthetic.
Baldwin's Medication Chart
Williams reportedly paid little attention to the guidelines and administered greater amounts than the high school student had recommended. She also failed to keep records of what she administered. So concerning was her hap-hazard willy nilly approach that even one of the other untrained members of the anesthesia team reported her concerns to Gosnell at least a year prior to the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, an abortion patient who died during a November 2009 drug overdose at the hands of Williams. Gosnell, of course, could have cared less. In addition to administering anesthesia, Williams did ultrasounds and induced labor by administering the drug Cytotec, all without any supervision.
According to grand jury testimony, patients were heavily sedated to keep them quiet while they waited for their procedure, often for 6-7 hours, without being adequately monitored, if monitored at all. The clinic had no machines to monitor a patient’s heart beat or breathing which are basic requirements in the standard of care. The grand jury put it best:
Indeed, given how the clinic’s practice was set up – with multiple second trimester patients sitting for hours in induced labor, crying in pain, and receiving repeated doses of sedation; with babies precipitating; with no doctor present, and unlicensed staff who showed up only when they felt like it; and with virtually no monitoring equipment – it would have been impossible even for a conscientious staff member to appropriately monitor the patients.
The “Women’s Medical Society” was apparently a little shop of horrors run by a family practice physician who, without any training in obstetrics and with an untrained staff, performed late term abortions for poor immigrants. Jars and bags of fetal remains and body parts littered the facility, which reeked of cat urine and had blood stained furniture. It is thought that hundreds of late and full term infants were murdered st the facility, many of them after labor was induced and they were delivered alive and well.
Among the 5 defendants still facing trial are Gosnell, charged with a host of crimes including 8 counts of first-degree murder, could be sentenced to death if found guilty, and Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, 50, who is charged with performing one late-term abortion and conspiracy. A hearing is set for Monday for a sixth defendant, Tina Baldwin, 46, meaning that she also is likely to plead guilty.
The sentencing for Williams and the other defendants who plead guilty is expected in December. Prosecutors, in exchange for her plea, waved a mandatory life sentence provision though she still faces a possible 200 years in prison. Her sentence may be further reduced depending on the quality of her testimony against Gosnell and other defendants. At the end of the plea hearing Williams broke down even at the prospect of doing another year in jail without bail before the Gosnell trial even starts. “I don’t know if I can do another year,”she said to defense attorney Stephen P. Patrizio, who comforted her. He was joined by Assistant District Attorneys Joanne Pescatore and Christine Wechsler, who walked over to the defense table. “You did the right thing, Lynda, you did great,” said Pescatore.
Lynda Williams and ‘doing the right thing’ were total strangers back in 2009 when when murdered a patient and an infant and conspired to murder dozens of others, so excuse us if we don’t congratulate her.
Read the relevant grand jury testimony about Williams below:
, Tina Baldwin