In the Bag

An abortion gone bad opens up an unseemly world of low-end medicine

In August 2004, the state revoked Osborne's license. Media reports show he was fined almost $7000 for failing to perform necessary preoperative procedures on his patients and for not treating a severe uterine perforation. He also failed to return calls to his emergency line, and left fetal remains inside patients. Osborne did not dispute the state's action, records show.

Following an anonymous tip three months later, police began investigating Osborne's involvement at the clinic where Tammy's abortion was botched. In December of that year, they raided the facility and issued a warrant for Osborne's arrest. Patients had identified him from a photo lineup as the man who terminated their pregnancies. Five of the women he treated alleged they ended up in the emergency room.

Senises, the clinic's president, denied any knowledge of unlicensed activity. Neither she, Gonzalez, nor Bazile were subjects of the investigation. Nor were they charged with a crime. But Osborne turned himself in to police three days before Christmas 2004 and pleaded guilty to practicing medicine without a license. In May 2005 he bought a five-bedroom, three-bathroom house valued at $680,000 in the Country Club of Miami. Four months later, a Broward County judge sentenced him to three years' probation.

Kyle T. Webster
Kyle T. Webster

Even after Osborne's sentencing, almost seventeen miles away at the West Hialeah clinic, it was business as usual. But then, this past July, an anonymous caller phoned Hialeah Police with a disturbingly gruesome story.

Sometime during the afternoon of July 19, an eighteen-year-old Pompano Beach woman arrived at a strip mall on West Sixteenth Avenue and 36th Street in Hialeah. She was an estimated 23 weeks pregnant and accompanied by her boyfriend.

The reason she had come so far for an abortion (her third, according to police) is unclear. She asked that her name not be used and then declined to speak with New Times. But when the young woman stood in front of A Gyn Clinic that day, she likely felt somewhat apprehensive, perhaps even nervous. From north to south, the single-story edifice features a Latin American café, a karate/ballet school, a paintball store, the gynecology center, and a flower shop. Fourteen parking spaces separate the building from the busy four-lane road in front. Across the street is a construction site littered with rubble and trash and surrounded by a barbed wire fence. To the south is a large industrial park.

Below the building's overhang, six-inch black numerals identify the clinic's address, 3671, and pink lettering centered on its heavily barred window spells out the word ginecología. Affixed to the dirty glass double doors are two rusty lock boxes and a series of credit card stickers. Inside, the small reception area is painted off-white. Aside from a sign above the desk that reads "No Checks Accepted," the walls are bare.

When the eighteen-year-old walked in that Wednesday afternoon, she would have signed some forms and then handed over at least $1100 — the minimum A Gyn charges for a late-second-trimester termination.

Next, one of the three workers administered an ultrasound and medication designed to begin dilation of the cervix. The young woman was then told to return to the facility the following morning to complete the procedure. During the hours that followed, the medication likely set to work, expanding her cervix enough for doctors the next day to extract the five-and-a-half-month-old fetus, either in its entirety or in parts, with forceps.

But when the pregnant teen showed up shortly after 9:30 Thursday morning, she complained of excruciating abdominal pain. The doctor had yet to arrive, so one of the workers led the ailing patient to a recovery room and, motioning to a pink recliner, told her to sit and wait, the cops say. She remained there for five hours. Around 2:30 p.m., with still no sign of a doctor, she gave birth to a girl in the recovery room. Police contend at least one clinic worker was present.

"The baby was born alive; it was attempting to breathe," says Hialeah Police Deputy Chief Mark Overton, adding that at least one witness, whom he declined to name, confirmed this version of events.

A search warrant issued by Judge Roberto Pineiro (filed with the Clerk of Courts six days after the incident) reveals more about the young woman's experience at A Gyn. "[She] observed the baby moving and gasping for air for approximately five minutes," the document relays. "The staff began screaming that the baby was alive, at which time Ms. Belkis Gonzalez cut the umbilical cord."

Gonzalez dumped the cord into a red biohazard bag filled with chloride, the warrant states, and "then swept the baby with her hands into the same red bag along with the gauze used during the procedure."

The bag was then allegedly thrown in the trash. Gonzalez's attorney, Gregory Iamunno, declined to comment about the incident.

Shortly before 7:00 that evening, an anonymous female called authorities from a pay phone located near the facility and stated a baby had been born alive and then killed at the Hialeah clinic. By the time detectives arrived, the facility was closed. But the following morning, the unidentified caller gave police the patient's information. Shortly before midnight, they tracked down the young woman, and she corroborated the allegations. So at 6:00 Saturday morning, Hialeah Police executed a search warrant.

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