THE CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS — According to public records, the Indiana doctor who assisted a 10-year-old rape victim in obtaining an abortion had a relatively spotless past. The results refute claims that the doctor has a history of disregarding state law.
The accessible history of Dr. (Caitlin) Bernard on the medical licence board’s public disciplinary website is quite obvious, according to Ashley Hadler, a medical malpractice attorney at Garau Germano, P.C. There are no past infractions, disciplinary investigations, or actions listed.
Hadler assisted CBF News in researching Bernard’s past using judicial, state, and federal documents.
CBF News investigators discovered Bernard was identified in an April 2022 malpractice complaint. Several medical providers and Eskenazi Health were implicated in the case. It was sent by a newborn girl and her mother. The hospital and its medical personnel are accused of “negligence and carelessness.” The case was not linked to an abortion procedure and is now undergoing examination.
Numerous anti-abortion lawmakers have reacted negatively to the doctor’s identification in an Indianapolis Star piece in which she recounted assisting an Ohio child rape victim in obtaining an abortion.
Wednesday, scrutiny increased as Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said on the Fox News programme “Jesse Watters Primetime” that he was investigating the physician.
Hadler said, “Dr. Bernard seems to be chastised on all sides.” “Initially, the report was attacked by various media sites for failing to name the patient, thus it could not be substantiated. And now that the offender has been found and the tale has been confirmed, Dr. Bernard is being chastised for disclosing excessive patient information.”
Indiana University Health made this statement on Friday.
“As part of its commitment to patient privacy and compliance with privacy laws, IU Health frequently conducts evaluations, including those affecting Dr. Caitlin Bernard as reported in the press. In accordance with company policy, IU Health initiated an inquiry with Dr. Bernard and other IU Health team members’ full participation. The review conducted by IU Health revealed that Dr. Bernard complies with privacy regulations.”
It occurred two days after Rokita indicated during the cable TV interview that he intended to investigate any breaches of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as whether Bernard complied with her obligation to report a suspected instance of child abuse.
Hadler examined the database of the Federal Office of Civil Rights and discovered no HIPAA violation reports regarding Bernard. 500 or more possible victims are required for a claim to be made public; allegations with fewer potential victims are often kept hidden.
“I find it noteworthy that the patient has not yet been recognised. As a victim of child abuse and sexual assault, her name has stayed shielded, which seems to indicate that a HIPPA breach has not really occurred.”
Rokita further implied that he would pursue the doctor’s medical licence if he determined she had broken federal or state law.
“I believe that some of his remarks may be perceived as his office having greater power than it really has in this scenario,” Halder added.
While the attorney general may examine these charges as part of a consumer complaint, he cannot take action against the doctor’s medical licence. This authority rests with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board.
Again, there is no record of the board investigating or penalising Bernard on its website.
A Termination of Abortion report issued by the Indiana Department of Health on Thursday indicates that the 10-year-abortion old’s was reported on July 2, two days after the medical abortion took place in Indianapolis. The two-page report demonstrates that Bernard complied with state legislation by reporting a procedure within three days.
In accordance with Indiana’s obligatory reporting statute, any reports involving patients younger than 16 must also be sent to the Department of Child Services, as stated at the top of the form.
Rokita implied that Bernard may have broken this statute in this instance and in the past. The violation of this legislation is a misdemeanour. CBF News Investigators examined state court records and discovered no indication that Bernard had a criminal past. Hadler discovered the same.
She said, “I found no indication that Dr. Bernard has ever been investigated for obligatory reporting violation.” Furthermore, there is no indication that she has ever been prosecuted, accused, or convicted for this offence.
The doctor’s “history of neglecting to disclose” that Fox News and the AG addressed on Wednesday is apparently connected to a 2018 news release from Indiana Right to Life announcing a consumer complaint against Bernard and other physicians.
CBF News contacted the attorney general’s office to inquire on the result of these complaints. Rokita was not in office at the time, but staff still had access to the information, and the attorney general may file an administrative complaint with the Medical Licensing Board for examination if a law was violated. Previous administrative complaints involving other physicians were sent by the staff. However, nobody opposed Bernard.
In addition, staff sent the following statement from Rokita:
“As said, we are accumulating information from a variety of sources and agencies in relation to these accusations. Our legal assessment of the matter is ongoing.”
The attorney general’s office also noted Bernard’s participation in a federal lawsuit challenging an Indiana legislation restricting access to abortion. However, suing the government is not prohibited.