Thursday, February 28, 2008

Transplant surgeon charged with hastening patient's death

From the New York Times:

In what is believed to be the first such case in the country, a California transplant surgeon is facing three felony counts relating to charges that he tried to hasten the death of a disabled man so as to harvest his organs sooner.

By most accounts, Ruben Navarro, 25, was close to death, and doctors hoped that he might sustain other lives by donating his kidneys and liver. Dr. Hootan Roozrokh is accused of prescribing excessive drugs before he was dead for the specific purpose of hastening his death. Dr. Roozrokh has pleaded not guilty. According to his lawyer, the charges are the result of overzealous prosecutors. If convicted on all counts, Dr. Roozrokh could face eight years in prison. The case is also concerning donation advocacy groups that organ donors could be frightened away.

Mr. Navarro’s mother has filed a civil suit against Dr. Roozrokh, the donor network and other doctors in the operating room.

“He didn’t deserve to be like that, to go that way,” she said. “He died without dignity and sympathy and without respect.”