State News

State orders Durham abortion clinic closed

Posted July 8, 2013
Updated July 9, 2013

— State officials have ordered a Durham abortion clinic to close its doors after finding safety violations.

The state Department of Health and Human Services suspended the certificate of operation for The Baker Clinic for Women last Friday. A letter from the department to the clinic pointed to its failure to ensure quality control was performed in blood banking, the process of collecting, separating and storing blood.

According to the department, a survey by the department's Acute and Home Care Licensure and Certification Section showed the clinic failed to perform quality control testing on 108 patients that received Rhesus testing.

Inspectors wrote that the clinic failed to ensure a positive and negative red blood cell control material was tested at least once daily when Rh(D) testing was performed and failed to follow manufacturer's instructions for performing Rh(D) testing.

The survey was conducted on July 2, and the letter to the clinic was dated July 5. The Baker Clinic has 60 days to appeal the suspension.

"This was on me. So my bad," clinic owner Dr. John Baker said. "We're going to correct it. It's straight forward. It's a technical issue."

Baker sat in the closed office Tuesday, sending letters to his patients about the safety concerns. He said it's the first such letter he's sent in more than a decade of providing abortion services.

"It's like trying to do your own taxes. This is a lot of stuff," he said.

Durham abortion clinic operator Durham abortion clinic says closure unrelated to proposed regulations

In May, health officials announced they would closely monitor a Charlotte abortion clinic that reopened after briefly losing its license.

A Preferred Woman's Health Center reopened May 15 after DHHS lifted its suspension. Officials revoked the clinic's license in April after determining that staffers were improperly administering a drug to induce abortions. Health officials called the practice dangerous to patients and ineffective.

The Durham and Charlotte clinics are among 16 licensed abortion clinics in North Carolina. Ten full-time DHHS inspectors monitor the facilities and conduct surveys of each one about every two years.

The clinics have recently become the center of debate because of legislation that would tighten regulations on their operations.

Baker said he doesn't see any connection between the legislative debate and the closure of his clinic.\

"There is no relationship whatsoever, as far as I can tell. It's just pure coincidence," he said. "In that legislation, there is not one word in it that has anything to do with laboratory services in an abortion clinic."

Abortion clinics aren't the only health care facilities subject to state standards for lab work, he said, so any other health clinic could have been similarly cited.


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  • seenbetterdaze Jul 10, 2013

    The Gosnell clinic in Philadelphia had not been inspected for the last 17 Years! The place was filthy, hazardous waste in plastic bags, he even cut off the little feet of all the babies he killed, and kept them in Jars in his office. He and His wife also had millions of dollars in cash stashed in their home.

  • seenbetterdaze Jul 10, 2013

    If a woman does not want to have any more kids she should just have the tubal ligation done. Period.

  • sunshine1040 Jul 9, 2013

    These are not innocent children but could be innocent children that are tortured by adults that do not have ability to care for children. How many unwed mothers have you taken into your home and helped them become educated and nurturing parents. If like most people none at all

  • Orthodox Celt Jul 9, 2013

    "A CLEAR example of why women need the kind of legislation being proposed right now!"

    No, it really isn't. The system worked, as you can see.

  • stymieindurham Jul 9, 2013

    This story here didn't get much air play. Wonder why?

  • stymieindurham Jul 9, 2013

    Wonder if this "doctor" sleeps well at night?

  • stymieindurham Jul 9, 2013

    Why do these places hide behind the names like "Clinic for Women"? Why not come out and post what your really do?

  • mep Jul 9, 2013

    A CLEAR example of why women need the kind of legislation being proposed right now!

  • bill15 Jul 9, 2013

    It seems increased inspections is the best solution. DHHS doesn't even inspect the ambulatory care centers that would be created in the new bill. Much like a restaurant sanitation grade, it's the threat of inspections that keep the conditions above grade.

  • airunc Jul 8, 2013

    These are serious breeches of resonable and safe practice ...if you can not even oversee necessary laboratory testing ...then you should not be allowed to perform potentially dangerous procedures and compromise health. Criminal and negligent .