Ex-patient: 'I think he should get life in prison'

Posted: January 20, 2011

Marie Smith thinks about it every day, thinks about the time when Kermit Gosnell almost single-handedly ended her life.

It was 1999. Smith was 19 years old and five months pregnant when she ended up at Gosnell's West Philadelphia office after she found his name in the Yellow Pages.

She wanted an abortion. Gosnell botched it, botched it so badly that Smith got violenty ill and had to be taken to Presbyterian Hospital, where doctors found her fetus's arm and a leg still inside of her.

Smith, 31, didn't hesitate yesterday when she was asked what should happen to Gosnell now that he's been charged with murder, infanticide and abuse of a corpse for decades' worth of negligent and criminal behavior.

"He needs to suffer," she said. "I think he should get life in prison. I would tell him that's what he needs."

Smith said her family called her throughout the day to relay tidbits of the grand jury report that yesterday detailed countless other horrors that have unfolded at Gosnell's practice, the Women's Medical Society, at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue.

They were details she never forgot, images of bloody floors and bleeding, barely coherent women lying across ragged recliners. "I think about that stuff every day," she said.

Smith filed a civil lawsuit against Gosnell for her injuries and was awarded $5,000 in 2003. She was one of the many women who successfully sued him over the years.

"And it still took them all this time just to catch him and stop him," she said, referring to the multitude of state and local agencies that District Attorney Seth Williams said turned a blind eye to Gosnell's history of nightmarish actions.

"What he did was horrible," Smith said. "It makes me feel a little better now that they got him."

But not everyone is comforted by the fact that Gosnell and his ever-changing cast of unlicensed, uneducated assistants have been charged.

Take, for instance, the family of Karnamaya Mongar, who authorities said died on Nov. 19, 2009, from a drug overdose administered by Gosnell's staff.

Mongar, her husband and their three children had lived for 18 years in Nepalese refugee camp before they came to America in June 2009, said Bernard Smalley, the family's attorney.

Mongar was living with relatives in Virginia, where she sought to have a second-trimester abortion only to be turned down by a clinic there. The clinic referred her to Gosnell, Smalley said.

Authorities say that Lynda Williams, Gosnell's untrained assistant, medicated Mongar while Gosnell was not around.

Mongar received an overdose of Demerol, and had no pulse by the time Gosnell finished performing the abortion, according to a civil lawsuit Smalley filed yesterday against Gosnell on behalf of Mongar's family.

"For all that this family had been through before they came to our shores," Smalley said, "for this mother to lose her life unnecessarily less than six months from the time they got here is something that never leaves you."

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