Officials seize medical waste in Lathrup Village abortion clinic DumpsterKim Kozlowski / The Detroit News/ Mar 10, 2008 LATHRUP VILLAGE -- Police and state officials called in hazardous waste crews Monday to haul away blood-soaked medical waste found in the Dumpster outside of WomanCare, an abortion provider that operates six mid-Michigan clinics.
Alberto Hodari, the clinic's medical director, blamed the apparent improper disposal of materials on a new staff member.
Abortion foes say they have searched the clinic's garbage for a month and found improperly disposed medical waste, along with medical documents that should have been shredded. They informed Lathrup Village police, who then launched the investigation.
"It's absolutely despicable," said Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, the group that claims to have found the improper dumping.
Hodari scoffed at the notion that the group had found medical waste in his Dumpster in Lathrup Village or any of the garbage receptacles at the five other WomanCare clinics.
No sanctions have been issued against the clinic because the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's investigation is not complete.
Meanwhile, Lathrup Village police were frustrated because they can't charge anyone with a crime.
"It's a regulatory issue and possibly a civil issue, but this ought to be a felony," said Lathrup Village Police Sgt. Vincent Lynch. "This is a neighborhood. Animals could get into the Dumpster they could drag the stuff around and you could end up with contamination as a public health issue far beyond the radius of the Dumpster. We have greater law enforcement for people who throw things outside the window of their car."
State officials on Monday also searched the garbage outside of a WomanCare clinic in Sterling Heights but it was unclear if they recovered anything.
Human tissue should be disposed of either by incineration, cremation, cemetery burial or grinding and flushing through a sanitary sewer, according to Robert McCann, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Anyone who violates the law is subject to a fine of up to $2,500 for each incident and up to $1,000 each day during which the violation occurred.
Officials from the Department of Environmental Quality, which investigates improper disposal of medical waste, would determine the magnitude and seriousness of the situation before levying a fine, McCann said. But it is unlikely the clinic would face serious repercussions.
"Our priority is always to work with them and get them into compliance," he said.
You can reach Kim Kozlowski at (313) 222-2024 or firstname.lastname@example.org.