SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Salt Lake City doctor once accused of murder for a botched abortion in Maryland will be allowed to keep her medical license in Utah.

Utah’s Physician Licensing Board ruled recently that Dr. Nicola Riley could keep her license so long as she writes an essay about what she learned from the 2010 incident, The Salt Lake Tribune reported ( ).

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Maryland regulators stripped Riley’s medical license in May. The board there determined that Riley’s unprofessional conduct was not remediable.

The chair of Utah’s board said they made their own decision independent of Maryland’s ruling.

“We don’t do things in lockstep. We want to be able to reflect what’s needed for Utah,” said board chairwoman Elizabeth Howell to the Tribune. “We gave it a lot of deliberation. I think we came to a fair decision.”

Riley declined comment through her attorney.

In August 2010, Riley performed an abortion at a clinic in Elkton, Md., however, the 18-year-old patient’s uterus ruptured. The young woman survived, but Maryland prosecutors got an indictment against her on murder and conspiracy charges.

The charges were eventually dropped after prosecutors learned that an expert witness would change his testimony.

However, Maryland regulators concluded that Riley’s actions warranted revoking her license. The board’s ruling stated its members did “not believe that Maryland patients would be safe in the hands of this physician.”

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Maryland regulators also said Riley should have never been issued a medical license because of past felony convictions for fraud, forgery and larceny. Those resulted in a prison sentence, a court martial and a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army, the Tribune reported.

Riley told the Utah board that she was doing contract work for the Maryland clinic at the time of the botched abortion. She said she only worked there one other time.

As part of her essay for the Utah board, Riley must explain how she will handle future life-threatening medical emergencies.

She got her Utah medical license in 2004 and worked for the Wasatch Women’s Center in Salt Lake City. She also had a private practice.

Some members of Utah’s board questioned whether Riley’s past dishonesty made her a danger to patients, but other members pointed out that she had practiced in Utah for years without any problems.

It’s a point that Riley made to the Utah board during a recent four-hour hearing.

“This is my first complication in over 7,000 procedures,” Riley told the Utah board. “It’s unfortunate that it made national news and that it was a serious complication.”

Riley told the board she doesn’t plan to do any more abortions.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune,

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