I missed the morning testimony but I arrived after the lunch break and was able to watch the Commonwealth put three more of their witnesses on the stand.
Commonwealth’s first witness of the day was Jimmy Johnson. Mr. Johnson was the maintenance man at Gosnell’s clinic as well as his home, shore property and other residences that Gosnell rented out. He worked for Gosnell for around ten years up until the time the clinic was raided in 2010.
One of Mr. Johnson’s duties was to dispose of medical waste that would subsequently be taken every week by a waste company. Mr. Johnson testified that as time went on, the medical waste began to pile up and Mr. Johnson was not sure why.
On cross, McMahon seemed to suggest that the fact that medical waste was piling up or not being taken regularly, could have a been a failure on the part of the waste company, not Gosnell. McMahon also established that Mr. Johnson was hired by Gosnell to clean the clinic regularly, including the fish tank and litter box, which according to Mr. Johnson’s testimony, he did.
The next witness for the Commonwealth was Della Mann. Ms. Mann was a registered nurse who worked for Gosnell at the Women’s Medical Society in the early 1980s for a few years. She returned to work for Gosnell in December 2009 but quit after just two days. She said her reasons for quitting were because the place had “deteriorated.” It was “awful,” “filthy,” and Gosnell was still using the same equipment he was using in the early 80s. She also testified that she felt uncomfortable with the way he paid her. He asked her to sign a check, give it back to him, and then he gave her cash.
On direct examination, Ms. Mann also said she was a patient of Gosnell’s from 1990- 2008. She often was seen by Dr. Eileen O’Neill, who actually was not a licensed physician in the state of Pennsylvania. O’Neill, by the way, is also on trial along with Gosnell. Ms. Mann testified that when she found out O’Neil was actually not a licensed doctor, she “felt dumb.” She retrieved her patient file from Gosnell’s clinic when she left in 2008.
McMahon was brilliant on cross again. He asked Ms. Mann, if the clinic was so awful, and if she had health insurance and the ability to choose to go to another doctor, why on earth she would continue to choose to be a patient of Gosnell’s for 18 years. Ms. Mann did not have an answer and she conceded that she supposed she was getting decent care at the clinic.
Eileen O’Neill’s attorney cross-examined Ms. Mann next. He went through her patient file and pointed out each visit, the date, why she was seeking medical care, and if she received any prescriptions from that visit. As it turns out, the two days that insurance covered Ms. Mann’s health care cost, she did not seen O’Neill on those days but instead saw Dr. Massof at the clinic. O’Neill’s attorney pointed out that Ms. Mann’s charts never indicate that she received any injections from O’Neill, despite prior testimony that she did. Also, a diagnosis of hypersensitivity to latex gloves was a diagnosis, again, from Massof, not O’Neill. Finally, all correspondence regarding refilling prescriptions was between Ms. Mann and Gosnell and O’Neill, never just Ms. Mann and O’Neill. Plus, Ms. Mann never saw O’Neill write a prescription directly after an examination. O’Neill always left the room and came back. O’Neill’s lawyer suggested this was because O’Neill would leave to consult with Gosnell about the prescription before writing it.
On redirect, the prosecution suggested that the reason Ms. Mann’s records do not reflect any medical care from O’Neill in her capacity as a doctor was because the clinic kept bad records. Ms. Mann also testified that the clinic was still keeping paper files as opposed to electronic files, which she knew as an R.N., was becoming more common.
The last witness of the day was Commonwealth’s witness, Loraine Matijkiw. She works for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in the Vaccines for Children program. Her credentials were established. She talked about two visits she made to Gosnell’s clinic, one in July 2008 and one in October 2009. In July 2008, the Women’s Medical Society was enrolled in the Vaccines for Children program. Matijikiw was doing a pre-scheduled cite visit in which her job was to inspect the vaccinations, make sure they are being kept at the correct temperatures and make sure the clinic is logging the temperatures at which the vaccines are kept. Matijkiw testified that she was supposed to meet Gosnell on that day but he was not there. The paperwork she sent him was not filled out. Nevertheless, she checked the refrigerators and noted that several vaccinations were expired and the temperature log was incomplete. She also noted generally that the clinic was “filthy,” “smelled of urine and cats” and she saw beat of recliners, drops of frozen red fluid in the freezer and containers with blood-colored contents. She also mentioned seeing the papers at the front desk with prices for abortions and various levels of sedation and at that time she realized it was an abortion clinic.
During her visit in October 2009, the clinic wanted to re-enroll in the Vaccines for Children program. She noticed the same general filth of the office. She met with O’Neill who she testified seemed to be confused about the fact that the vaccines were for children only.
When O’Neill’s lawyer cross-examined Matijikiw, she testified that O’Neill actually said during their meeting in 2009 that she was not a licensed physician.
Again, McMahon and even O’Neill’s attorney were very strong and found just the right holes in the Commonwealth’s argument for each witness. The most convincing evidence for the State is the testimony from two witnesses today about the filth and odor in the clinic. It is hard to hear that testimony and not try to picture what it is like to walk through such a disgusting place. If the jury is as grossed out as I am about that testimony, then I think we have nothing to worry about. I’ll be back Thursday for more.