Florida doctor kills wrong twin, loses license

SARASOTA, Fla. — A Florida gynecologist had his license revoked by the state medical board after he aborted the wrong baby of a mother pregnant with twins.

According to published reports, Dr. Matthew Kachinas agreed to do a "selective termination" procedure on a baby boy who was shown to have Down syndrome and other health issues. Tests showed his twin sister was healthy.

Officials said Kachinas, who performed abortions regularly, did the selective termination procedure even though he had never done one before. In the process he targeted the wrong child and mistakenly killed the healthy baby girl. The woman was 16 weeks pregnant when the procedure was done on her child. His license was revoked April 9.

Americans United for Life said the procedure involves injecting the unborn baby with a lethal chemical that stops his heart. The baby then shrivels up and dies in utero, while the other baby is left to develop.

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Online website maternal and fetal physician Washington Hill described the selective termination procedure as a "very restricted practice."

"I would say in the country maybe a half-dozen good ones (doctors) I would refer a patient to," said Hill, who told the news agency he refers his own patients to a specialist in Philadelphia.

During the disciplinary hearing, Kachinas blamed a bad ultrasound machine for the error. He also told the officials he agreed to do the procedure because he didn't like to tell his patients "no." At one point, while defending himself of two lesser charges in unrelated cases, Kachinas admitted he "screwed up" in the botched case of the twins.

A review of state records, Americans United for Life said, showed that Kachinas made a $250,000 liability settlement with the mother, "K.M.," for "an incident" on the day of her selective termination.

The state records reveal that a week and a half after the procedure K.M. returned to the doctors at Florida Perinatal Associates, who were monitoring her high-risk pregnancy. An ultrasound revealed that the healthy baby girl had been killed and that the baby still alive was the boy with Down syndrome.  

The mother returned to Kachinas several days later to abort him as well.

"Sadly, her actions reflect a mindset many people have toward individuals with disabilities—that somehow their lives are valueless and not deserving of being lived," AUL reporter Kellie Fiedorek, wrote in her article.

In a November articled by UPI wire service, pediatric geneticist Dr. Brian Skotko of Children's Hospital Boston said that about 92 percent of American women with prenatal diagnoses of Down Syndrome babies choose abortion.

"I am concerned about mothers making that informed decision. Are they making it on facts and up-to-date information? Research suggests not, and that mothers get inaccurate, incomplete and sometimes offensive information," Skotko told UPI.

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