He is known only as "Baby Boy B," a fetus estimated to be 28 weeks old, found frozen in an altered one-gallon plastic water jug in Kermit Gosnell's West Philadelphia abortion clinic.
His passing went unnoticed and undocumented, but on Monday, prosecution and defense lawyers struggled to get Philadelphia's chief medical examiner to say whether he was stillborn or killed by Dr. Gosnell after being born alive during an abortion.
"Based on the totality of the evidence ... you cannot testify to anyone that this fetus was born alive?" Dr. Gosnell's lawyer, Jack McMahon, asked medical examiner Sam Gulino.
"No, I cannot," replied Dr. Gulino.
Then assistant district attorney Edward Cameron flipped around Mr. McMahon's question: "Can you think of any reason why the neck was severed if that baby was not born alive?"
Again, Dr. Gulino agreed. Mr. McMahon tried to salvage his first answer, only to be interrupted by Mr. Cameron.
Mr. McMahon exploded in anger, but was topped by Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart.
"Mr. McMahon, behave yourself!" Judge Minehart yelled. "Act like a lawyer."
Mr. McMahon, who once worked with Judge Minehart and Mr. Cameron in the district attorney's office, sat down, seething, and said nothing more.
The heated exchange capped the first day of the trial's fifth week.
Dr. Gosnell, 72, is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, seven infants allegedly born alive during abortions and killed by cutting their spinal cords with scissors.
Mr. McMahon has argued that none of the infants was killed, that they were in death throes from the abortion drug, Digoxin, that Dr. Gosnell administered earlier.
Dr. Gosnell is also charged with one count of third-degree murder in the Nov. 19, 2009, death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, a Virginia woman allegedly killed by an overdose of Demerol by Dr. Gosnell's untrained staff.
Also on trial is Eileen O'Neill, 56, of Phoenixville, an unlicensed medical school graduate who worked in the family practice area of Dr. Gosnell's Women's Medical Society. Ms. O'Neill is charged with participating in what prosecutors call the operation of a corrupt organization.
A Mt. Lebanon man who has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for his involvement in the "house of horrors" Philadelphia abortion clinic case has provided his testimony with other former employees.
Steven Massof, now 50, who worked at the Philadelphia clinic from July 2003 to June 2008, testified that he routinely saw babies born alive and then killed with scissors at the clinic that catered to minorities, the poor and women with late-term pregnancies.
Mr. Massof estimated that he saw about 100 babies born alive and then "snipped" with surgical scissors in the back of the neck to ensure their "demise."
"It was literally a beheading," Mr. Massof stated as he described the technique. "It is separating the brain from the body."
But, he said, "I believe that Dr. Gosnell was honestly trying to help women and protect them from abuse and neglect."
Dr. Gulino testified about the difficult task of examining the remains of 47 frozen fetuses discovered in Dr. Gosnell's clinic during a Feb. 18, 2010, raid by a federal-state prescription drug-abuse task force.
Dr. Gulino said he finally opened the red and blue plastic bags from Dr. Gosnell's freezer, tagged the remains, and slowly let them thaw, to minimize decomposition.
The 47 aborted fetuses ranged in age from 12 weeks -- the end of the first trimester -- to late second trimester, and included two that looked beyond the 24-week limit for legal abortions in Pennsylvania.
Some were stored in makeshift containers, such as the cut-down plastic water jug or juice containers, Dr. Gulino said. Other remains, body parts, were stored in cat and dog food containers.
Former employees testified last week that Dr. Gosnell gave different explanations for why he kept up to 30 specimen jars containing fetal feet. He told some the feet were for DNA testing and others they were for medical research.
The reason for the freezer full of fetuses was more mundane. Dr. Gosnell was disputing charges by his medical waste disposal firm. He froze the remains and other medical waste awaiting a resolution that never happened.
First Published April 16, 2013 4:00 AM