A daughter's tearful testimony in 'House of Horrors' trial

Posted: April 17, 2013

KARNAMAYA MONGAR was turned away from two abortion clinics in Virginia and one in Washington, D.C., because she was too far along in her pregnancy, before being referred to Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the woman's tearful daughter testified Tuesday morning.

The decision by Mongar, 41, to undergo a November 2009 abortion at Gosnell's West Philadelphia clinic ultimately led to her death from a drug overdose and to Gosnell being charged with her murder.

Yashoda Gurung, aided by an interpreter, spoke softly and at times used tissue to wipe tears as she spoke of the two-day abortion procedure that ended with her mother's death.

Gosnell, 72, is charged with third-degree murder in the death of Mongar, a Bhutan native who arrived in the United States four months before her death after 20 years in a Nepal refugee camp.

She was married with three children and a grandchild. She wanted an abortion because she was new to this country, her daughter said.

Gosnell also is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder for allegedly delivering babies alive and cutting their spinal cords, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Gosnell's defense attorney, Jack McMahon, is arguing that his client is not guilty because the babies were already dead when they were born.

McMahon contends that Mongar's death was accidental - just as it was first classified by the city Medical Examiner's Office. He has told the jury that Mongar failed to inform Gosnell's staff that she had taken medication to self-abort before arriving at the clinic and that she had other medical issues that she did not disclose.

Also testifying Tuesday was Damber Ghalley, a relative of Mongar's by marriage, who drove her to Gosnell's clinic from her home in Virginia.

He told the jury that Gosnell showed no sympathy the night she was rushed by ambulance from his clinic or the following day when she died at a hospital.

" 'I didn't do anything wrong. I will be able to answer any questions anywhere,' " Ghalley said Gosnell responded when he asked him what went wrong.

McMahon, however, introduced as evidence a letter Gosnell sent to Mongar's family 10 days after her death to refute the claim that the doctor did not show sympathy to Mongar's family.

The jury also heard testimony about how unsanitary and antiquated Gosnell’s clinic was from two registered nurses: Della Mann, who had been a patient and employee at the clini; and Lori Matijkiw of the city Health Department, who conducted two inspection visits in 2008 and 2009.

Matijkiw said she found expired vaccines in filthy refrigerators, incompleted charts, an abortion-procedure room in disarray, a murky fish tank containing a swimming turtle, and the smell of urine in the area.

“When I walked into the lobby it was really filthy. I go into a lot of practices and this was really filthy,” said Matijkiw, who added that she reported what she saw to her supervisors.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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