Illinois Abortion Facility Inspection Update – Part 1

This letter to State Rep. Jack Franks from a friend of McHenry County Blog tells what Illinois State Department of Public Health’s belated inspections have found:

First, I want to thank you for your assistance in bringing abortion regulation/inspection to the attention of the IDPH and securing their commitment to you to inspect all PTSCs in 2011.

They have done it.

This is a summary of the recent surveys of the licensed abortion clinics in Illinois. The data is as current as I have been given, but there is a fairly large delay in what I have because it is not usually released until an acceptable plan of correction has been received and is not released when disciplinary action is ongoing. Some things I have gotten from the press, and other things you, as a legislator may have access to, but this is what’s available to the public and I’ve tried to be as thorough as possible.

Pregnancy Termination Specialty Centers (PTSC’s)

American Women’s in Des Plaines

A nursing survey was done on 6/23/11. A followup should have been done by now, but none has yet been released.

There were multiple serious violations found here.


There was no RN in the operating room (ever) to circulate. While there were 2 RNs on staff, the policy of the clinic was for them to not be in the OR. This is against state rules and is dangerous to the patient.

There was no documentation of a person accompanying the patient home in 4/10 charts reviewed. This is inappropriate and dangerous if a woman were to leave on her own and have complications unattended or attempt to drive herself.

There was no pre-op or post-op counseling at all. This is where the term “abortion mill” comes from. Get them in and out without a care about whether the procedure is what they want or appropriate to their situation. This, of course, begs the question of informed consent.

The last problem is one I’m not sure how to handle. The surgical consent form did not correspond to the post-operative reports. Women signed consents for laminaria insertion and in 4/4 cases the post-op reports stated either another procedure was performed or there was no report at all. What actually occured in those situations was not possible to reconstruct from the data.

The response of the clinic was a multitude of forms and memos and policy revisions. The informed consent form they submitted was laughable. Personally, I don’t think they would ever use it. They pulled it out of somewhere, but nowhere in Illinois, because the form refers to state laws that don’t exist in Illinois. I have not received a follow-up survey as of this writing, but I do expect one.

On 8/11/11 a life safety survey was done at American Women’s in Des Plaines.

Multiple violations were found:

Storage room walls did not extend to the deck above (the storage room is considered a hazardous area because of all the paper stored there).

There were problems with emergency exit lighting.

There were problems with the fire alarm system (multiple problems cited).

Medical gases were stored close to combustibles.

The clinic has responded to the survey, but the plan of correction was not yet acceptable as of 12/15/11. There has been communication between the IDPH and the clinic, but I have not seen anything stating that they are currently compliant.

All the life safety code violations appear to be fixable.

My concern with this clinic is that the professional violations reflect a lack of concern for the women treated there (no counseling, consents not matching procedures, lack of RN in the room during procedures, not verifying person accompanying patient home).

While it’s impossible to legislate care, it is possible to monitor the framework in which procedures must occur.

This clinic is a prime example of why frequent inspections are necessary.

More tomorrow.


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