Doctor allegedly put patient into coma

March 21, 2013 at 9:51 PM

PHILADELPHIA, March 21 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia doctor on trial for performing late-term abortions allegedly used a fatal mix of drugs that resulted in the death of a patient, experts say.

While testifying Thursday at the trial of Kermit Gosnell, Pittsburgh anesthesiologist Andrew Herlich said the combination of Demerol, promethazine and diazepam that was used on Karnamaya Mongar to keep her unconscious during a 2009 abortion likely led to her death, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"The dose given to her exceeded the norm," Herlich, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy, said in court. "It would make her stop breathing."

Gosnell, 72, is charged with Mongar's death, as well as seven counts of first-degree murder for fetuses he allegedly killed in late-term abortions. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Medical school graduate Eileen O'Neill, 52, of Phoenixville is also listed as a defendant in the trial. She worked as a doctor in Gosnell's Women's Medical Society clinic in West Philadelphia but is not charged with performing late-term abortions.

On Wednesday, testimony was predominantly focused on jars of preserved feet of fetuses Gosnell kept.

Gosnell said he kept the feet in case a patient requested them for future identification or DNA samples.

However, Daniel H. Conway, a physician and neonatologist at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, testified there was no need to preserved a fetus' feet.

"In my practice, we would have no reason to save the foot, and I've never seen that done," Conway said.

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