Doctor investigated for alleged shoddy abortion

Posted at: 11/30/2012 5:01 PM
Updated at: 11/30/2012 6:12 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An Albuquerque doctor who performed a life-threatening late-term abortion could lose her license. It’s not because the procedure is illegal, but because of how and where it was done.

A local pro-life group brought a complaint forward and now the New Mexico Medical Board is considering action against the doctor. The board says it's not getting into the controversy of this actual procedure but whether this clinic met the standard of care.

"The doctor's concerned we have a uterine rupture during a late-term abortion procedure," a 911 tape plays out on YouTube.

The 911 call was made from the Southwestern Women’s Options Clinic near Lomas and Broadway in May 2011.

The tape obtained by pro-life advocate, Tara Shaver, shows a 35-week abortion procedure that had dangerous complications.

"A patient has previous c-section," revealed the caller to the 911 dispatcher.

Those complications sent the patient to the hospital with a ruptured uterus. No one will say if she survived.

"We're just really tired of seeing abortion abuses in New Mexico. We want this to come to an end,” said Tara Shaver in an interview. “And we want those who are responsible to be held accountable."

That could happen. The doctor performing the abortion, Dr. Shelley Sella, is being investigated by the state Medical Board for gross negligence.

In a Notice of Contemplated Action the board says “because of the patient’s medical history,” having a caesarean delivery, “[Sella] should have performed the procedure at a hospital instead of a clinic.”

The document goes on to say: “The uterine rupture was caused by the excessive use of uterine stimulants.”

The board met with Sella for the second day in a closed hearing.

Members are considering what if any sanctions should be leveled against the doctor. We weren’t able to reach Sella for comment.

The Medical Board has 90 days to decide on the case. Dr. Sella could lose her license to practice medicine in the state of New Mexico