MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - State lawmakers are taking action in response to a Target 8 investigation into a Muskegon doctor who was performing abortions and the state oversight chair who gave him a pass.
Dr. Robert Alexander's former mentor, the chair of the state Board of Medicine, decided on his own not to investigate allegations against the doctor after he botched an abortion.
Now, there's pending legislation to fix that.
Senators Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) and Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) introduced legislation Wednesday that they say could keep allegations against potentially bad doctors from being quietly swept under the rug by the state Board of Medicine.
Sheria McCloud's case, exposed earlier this year by Target 8, got the attention of Schuitmaker and Jones.
"It's a good thing, but I think it's really too late. They should have really got involved in it when it first happened to me and when it first got reported," McCloud said of the legislation.
In 2009, McCloud went to Alexander for an abortion. Five weeks later, she found she was still pregnant. Her son Jeremiah is now 4 years old.
"That's a scary feeling that you know that you're pregnant, you go to the hospital after you have an abortion, you're thinking the baby's gone and you're seven months pregnant. That's very scary," she said.
The doctor who delivered Jeremiah filed a complaint with the state Board of Medicine, alleging it was one of two botched abortions by Dr. Alexander that put women's lives at risk.
But the then-chair of the state board, Dr. Robert Shade, closed the complaint without an investigation.
A decade earlier, Shade had played a key role in Alexander's transition back into medicine after he had been in prison for selling bad prescriptions.
"They let him get away with it. They let him get away with it for so long. My baby's 4 years old," McCloud said.
The pending legislation requires at least three Board of Medicine members review every allegation. The board chair currently has the power to decide alone.
The bill would also require board members to disclose any possible conflict of interest they might have with health care providers who are being investigated.
"I think that's good now, but it should have been protected a long time ago," McCloud said. "A doctor is a doctor. A doctor is one who takes care of patients, not harm their patients."
In 2012, Alexander's clinic in Muskegon was shut down for multiple health and safety violations. State records show he is still licensed to practice medicine in Michigan.
The bills have been referred to the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee.
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