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Patrick Springer, Published October 30 2010

Women’s clinic doctor’s license lapsed; clinic officials are calling an oversight

A doctor at the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo has a state medical license that expired four months ago due to an oversight, the clinic acknowledged Friday.

Dr. Lori Lynn Holst Thorndike, who lives in Denver, has a North Dakota medical license that expired June 30.

A spokesman for the North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners said board members will consider the matter at their next meeting on Nov. 19.

The board’s investigative panel will gather information to decide whether Thorndike practiced medicine without a license and, if so, whether to impose sanctions or proceed with a formal disciplinary complaint, Duane Houdek, the medical board’s executive secretary, said Friday.

“From time to time, it occurs that a doctor fails to renew a license,” Houdek said. “Typically it might be a few days. It’s much more rare that it might be a matter of months.”

The board allows a grace period of up to 30 days after the renewal deadline.

Sgt. Joe Anderson of the Fargo Police Department said an officer stopped by the clinic Friday and was told Thorndike’s expired license was due to an “administrative oversight.”

“I don’t know whether she practiced medicine during that time or not,” Anderson said, referring to the period since Thorndike’s license expired June 30. “The case is still under investigation.”

Thorndike wasn’t available for comment Friday. Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, which performs abortions among other medical services, declined to comment beyond a statement she gave The Forum:

“Dr. Thorndike has been licensed in North Dakota,” she said in the statement. “There was a paperwork oversight with her license. She is right now in the process of taking care of it with the North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners. We expect full resolution with no further problems.”

Medical examiners have not yet investigated the license lapse, Houdek said. Because Thorndike lives in Colorado, it could be that she only periodically provides medical services in North Dakota, he said.

“It could be that she practiced once or twice,” Houdek added.

The rules and law do not spell out what the consequences are if a doctor practices without a license beyond 30 days, Houdek said.

Under North Dakota law, practicing medicine without a license is a misdemeanor.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522