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Florida Department of Health suspends Pensacola abortion clinic doctor calling him a 'great public danger'

A gynecology chair sits in a doctor's office.
Sean Gallup
Getty Images
A gynecology chair sits in a doctor's office.

A doctor at the American Family Planning clinic in Pensacola has had his license suspended by the Florida Department of Health after investigators have accused him of being a "great public danger."

Dr. Christopher Saputa, a Tarpon Springs-based doctor, is accused of failing to provide emergency care to three patients who nearly died waiting for help after abortion procedures. In the complaint, an American Family Planning nurse even noted Saputa should have initiated emergency transport sooner than he did in at least one case.

The report details three individual cases, March 23, April 28, and May 5. On March 23, a 27-year-old patient, "K.J." was "thrashing in pain" in the recovery room while staff continually changed heavy pad saturated in blood. By the time EMS was called, the patient had lost 750 ml of blood and due to extensive damage, the patient had to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy and fallopian tube removal.

On April 28, Saputa treated 22-year-old "D.W." The patient contacted the call service on May 3 and said she was experiencing pain and a fever, according to the complaint. She was advised to come in for her follow-up appointment a few days later. But, by May 5, she had gone to the hospital in septic shock and had to have a hysterectomy and appendectomy. According to the complaint, an independent expert reviewed the case and said concluded Saputa had punctured the patient's uterus.

The third case was on or about May 5, with 36-year-old patient "D.C." who was given two times the daily dose of misoprostol, otherwise known as the abortion pill which empties the uterus by causing cramping and bleeding. Because the patient had had two prior C-sections, she was not to have high doses of the drug, according to the complaint. A staff member also reported the patient's blood pressure was in the low 80s, which was not documented. After several hours, it was determined, the patient had a possible uterine rupture and when she was discharged after midnight that night Saputa told her husband not to go to a hospital in Pensacola, but that she was "fine" and could go to a hospital in Mobile, Alabama.

On the way to Alabama, the patient "passed out in the car and made gurgling sounds" according to the report. When she arrived at USA Children's and Women's Hospital, an hour and 15 minutes away, surgeons estimated the patient had lost 3,500 ml of blood and was minutes away from death. She was advised not to get pregnant again.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration ordered the suspension of the license for American Family Planning of Pensacola in May. The suspension continues to be in effect.

As of June, the state of Florida has reported 33,382 abortions in the state.

When Saputa was interviewed about the case, he pushed blame to the facility, the report said. He also said he had not read the facilities' procedures on emergency management. The report also indicates several times when Saputa kept poor records or none at all on patients.

The report also noted that Saputa did not have the education, training, or experience to provide gynecological surgeries or procedures. Having unrestricted practice as a medical doctor would be a "serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare" to Florida citizens, the report said.

"The fact that Dr. Saputa experienced all three of these complications within weeks of each other indicates that he lacks the technical skill to be able to safely practice gynecological procedures," the report said.

No one at the American Family Planning Clinic was available for comment.

Jennie joined WUWF in 2018 as digital content producer and reporter.