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April 13, 2010 - Doctor Removes Wrong Fetus, Loses License

Florida state officials stripped a Sarasota doctor of his license after he aborted the wrong fetus in a woman carrying twins, one with congenital defects.

Dr. Matthew J. Kachinas, the obstetrician-gynecologist who performed the procedure known as selective termination on the woman, said he would appeal the decision, the St. Petersburg Times reported Monday. During a state hearing Friday, he blamed his mistake on ultrasound equipment he said didn't allow him to view the fetuses as clearly as possible.

In the selective termination procedure, a chemical injection terminates one fetus in a multiple pregnancy.

"I have never, ever in my entire career ever said 'no' to a patient," he told the Times Monday, noting he told the couple of his inexperience in performing the procedure. "And that was my downfall."

In January 2006, he agreed to treat a woman identified as K.M., who was roughly four months' pregnant with twins conceived through in vitro fertilization, the Times said. Doctors had advised her that selective termination was an option after she learned the male fetus had many health issues, including a possible heart defect and Downs syndrome. The female twin appeared normal.

About 10 days after the procedure, the woman returned to the doctors who were monitoring her pregnancy, when an ultrasound revealed the male fetus was still alive. She returned to Kachinas several days later to terminate the second twin.

Dr. Mark Evans, a New York ob-gyn and geneticist who pioneered the procedure, told the Times he had not heard of another case in which the wrong twin or fetus was terminated since he began performing it 25 years ago.

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