Del. doctors face suspensions in Pa. abortion case

Dr. Kermit Gosnell

March 1, 2011 5:44:42 PM PST
Delaware officials on Tuesday ordered emergency license suspensions for two doctors linked to a criminal case involving a Pennsylvania abortion clinic.

Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and state medical board president Raymond Moore granted a request from the attorney general's office for the emergency suspension of Dr. Albert Dworkin's medical license.

They also agreed to suspend the controlled substances registration of Dr. Arturo Apolinario and to order an expedited hearing on a request by the attorney general's office to suspend his medical license as well.

Authorities contend the two physicians have worked with Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who is charged with eight counts of murder for the deaths of seven babies and one patient at the Women's Medical Society clinic in Philadelphia.

According to complaints filed last week with the state medical board, the attorney general's office said Dworkin and Apolinario present a "clear and immediate danger" to public health and that their licenses should be suspended pending hearings on permanent revocations.

Adam Balick, an attorney for Apolinario, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the suspension orders. Richard Galperin, an attorney for Dworkin, was not immediately available for comment.

The emergency suspensions were ordered by Bullock and Moore under new authority granted to them in patient protection measures enacted into law last year following the arrest of former pediatrician Earl Bradley, who is accused of sexually assaulting scores of patients over more than a decade.

"It is important in these cases that we err on the side of protecting the public," Moore said.

The attorney general's office contends that Dworkin was the obstetrician and gynecologist of record for the Philadelphia clinic and knew or should have known that Gosnell and his staff were engaged in unprofessional and criminal conduct, including "maintaining deplorable conditions" and "murdering babies born alive at the clinic."

Apolinario is described in the attorney general's complaint as the medical director of abortion clinics in Dover and Wilmington run by Atlantic Women's Medical Services, where authorities say Gosnell also practiced until his license was suspended in March 2010.

The complaint also accuses Apolinario of failing to report that Gosnell had removed and destroyed patient records. He is also accused of prescribing medicines after his controlled substances registration lapsed in June 2009 and before it was renewed last month.

Bullock said Apolinario's controlled substances registration was renewed because of a loophole in existing law. He said the Division of Professional Regulation will seek legislative authority to deny CSR renewals under certain circumstances when there are pending complaints against an applicant.

While suspending Apolinario's license to prescribe drugs, Bullock and Moore said a hearing was needed before acting on his medical license after determining that the allegations against him did not meet the "clear and immediate danger" standard required for an emergency suspension.

The Seaford-based Delaware Family Policy Council urged Attorney General Beau Biden in January and federal authorities to investigate Apolinario, noting that allegations of controlled substance violations at the Pennsylvania clinic led to the discovery of other problems.

"We are pleased that the Secretary of State and board president acted so quickly after receiving our complaints," Biden said in a statement issued Tuesday.