W.Va. doctor says complaint is political stunt

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A Charleston doctor says a complaint filed against him by a Kanawha County delegate is a political stunt.

Dr. Byron Calhoun, vice chairman of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at West Virginia University Physicians of Charleston, sent a letter to media outlets on Monday saying Delegate Nancy Guthrie’s statements in her complaint are inaccurate, the Charleston Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/JazTSM).

Guthrie filed the complaint last week with the state Board of Medicine. She asked the board to investigate claims that Calhoun made in a June letter to Attorney General Patrick Morrissey regarding the state’s abortion clinics.

In the June letter obtained by the newspaper, Calhoun discussed his concerns about the state’s abortion clinics and said he commonly treats patients at Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Charleston for abortion complications.

Guthrie said in her complaint that Calhoun may have violated the codes of medical conduct for not reporting substandard services he allegedly observed.

“The American Medical Association Code of Ethics specifies an ethical obligation of a physician to report impaired, incompetent, and/or unethical colleagues in accordance with the legal requirements in each state,” she wrote.

Calhoun said in his Monday letter that he frequently treats women at the emergency room for abortion complications, which range from minor bleeding to more serious issues. He said he never referred to abortion complications as “botched abortions,” as Guthrie had claimed.

“Your endorsement by Planned Parenthood in your most recent election may be to blame,” Calhoun wrote. “If so, you certainly would not be the first politician that allowed her desire to please special interest groups to override basic competency and accuracy.”

Calhoun said he has reported complications that he has observed to WVU administrators. He said little to nothing has been done because of a lack of state regulation of abortion clinics and abortion providers.

“Might I suggest that ill-advised attacks on physicians may not be the best way to champion women’s health,” Calhoun wrote. “Instead, perhaps you should initiate legislation to protect West Virginia women from sub-standard care and abandonment by abortion providers, and from the Dr. Gosnell’s of the world.”

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor, is serving life without parole for killing three babies born alive during illegal abortions.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette, http://www.wvgazette.com

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