Why Did Dimensions Abortuary Close? Now We Know

dimensions medical center closedThe Pro-Life Action League reported late last year that the Dimensions Medical Center abortion facility in Des Plaines, Illinois had closed.

But at the time, we didn’t know why it closed. Now we do:

Dimensions would have never passed an inspection.

The League has recently reviewed documentation [PDF] showing that on August 30, 2011, Dimensions notified the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) that the facility intended to close.

But why?

Illinois “Quietly” Begins Increasing Inspections of Abortion Clinics

Reports of Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” abortion mill in Philadelphia in early 2011 prompted pro-life activists working with the Pro-Life Action League to submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the IDPH to obtain inspection records from Illinois abortion facilities.

Then, in May 2011, the IDPH began to “quietly begin increasing the inspections” of the nine facilities in the state classified as pregnancy termination specialty centers (PTSCs). (These inspections led directly to the permanent closing of  Rockford’s Northern Illinois Women’s Center, and to Women’s Aid Clinic in Lincolnwood being stripped of its license.)

Five of what were then nine PTSCs in Illinois are owned by Vinod Goyal—who also owned Dimensions.

Dimensions was classified not as a PTSC, but as an ASTC (ambulatory surgical treatment center). The IDPH inspected all of the state’s PTSCs in 2011, and plans to inspect all the ASTCs that perform abortions this year.

Dimensions Owner Sees the Writing on the Wall

Once Goyal started seeing state inspectors show up at his PTSCs, he knew it wouldn’t be long before they came calling at Dimensions—which hadn’t been inspected since 2001. And he knew Dimensions was in such bad shape that would it never pass an inspection.

How bad was it?  According to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board [PDF]:

Dimensions Medical Center, Ltd. is housed in a building that is structurally inadequate to provide surgical services. The two surgical suites are too small to accommodate all equipment necessary for modern surgical procedures. The applicants also report flooding issues at the facility, resulting in unsanitary conditions, additional remediation costs, and unnecessary closures of the facility. The applicants also identified a non-functioning emergency generator system that must be replaced.

Elsewhere in the document, the flooding from the septic/sewer system is described as resulting in “major sanitation issues.”

In other words, Dimensions was a dump.

But far more serious was the non-functioning emergency generator.  Any medical facility that administers anesthesia is required to have a back-up generator so that if there’s a power failure, patients’ lives are not endangered.

This is critical, because as RealChoice‘s Christina Dunigan has amply documented, anesthesia screw-ups can kill you.

Increased Inspections = Closing of Unsafe Abortion Clinics

It’s rather obviously not a coincidence that Vinod Goyal decided to close Dimensions just a few months after state health inspectors started showing up at his other abortion clinics.

Still, I can’t help but wonder: How long had Dimensions had a non-functioning emergency generator?  How long had it been dealing with the “major sanitation issues” resulting from its septic/sewer system flooding?

We’ll never know.  But I’d have to guess that if the IDPH hadn’t started inspecting Illinois’ abortion clinics for the first time in years, Dimensions would still be open.

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