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State puts abortion doctor on probation

Binghamton clinic closes

By JENNIFER IVAN
Staff Writer
Dr. Salomon Epstein, who has performed abortions for nearly 20 years, is no longer practicing in Binghamton.

His clinic on Front Street in Binghamton closed Friday, after he could not meet one of the terms of his five-year probation set Friday by the state Department of Health.

Facing 36 allegations of negligence, incompetence and improper record-keeping, Epstein entered an agreement April 14 to plead guilty only to the record-keeping charges. He said he did not seek a hearing for economic reasons.

Epstein's probation began Friday, said Kristine Smith, spokeswoman for the Health Department. He can continue to practice medicine if he follows the terms of his probation, she said.

One of the terms required Epstein to find a doctor to "back him up" for emergencies on the days he is not in the office. Epstein worked Wednesdays and Thursdays at his clinic in Binghamton, where he performed first- and second-trimester abortions. He maintains a practice in New York City as well.

Epstein said he has been unable to find a back-up doctor for the Binghamton clinic.

Epstein called the results of the investigation bogus. "It's not an issue of inefficient care," Epstein said. "I only consented to insufficient record-keeping. That's it."

Smith said the terms of probation address all of the charges. "(They are) very specific and appropriate to address the deficiencies in Epstein's practice of medicine," she said.

The terms call for Epstein to arrange for another doctor to review all office and patient records and hospital charts, and to make periodic visits to Epstein's offices. The terms also require Epstein to create a document for each patient, including "history, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care and instructions."

Epstein said he thought the investigation was politically motivated.

"The allegations are six or seven years old. I don't understand why the issue has come up all of a sudden. I fear it has something to do with abortion politics."

Smith disagreed. "We don't take action on just one case. We try to find a pattern," she said. "The bottom line is we want to make this care safe for women."

The only other abortion provider in the area is the Southern Tier Women's Services in Vestal.

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