Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ruben Navarro update

San Luis Obispo, California - The Associated Press reports that the trial of transplant surgeon Dr. Hootan Roozrokh in connection with the death of Ruben Navarro has started. As reported in earlier posts by FRIDA, Roozrokh has been charged with one count of felony adult abuse for allegedly prescribing too much morphine and the sedative Atvian to Mr Navarro so as to hasten his death so he could procure his organs:

Dr. Hootan Roozrokh faces one count of felony dependent adult abuse for allegedly prescribing too much medication to Ruben Navarro.

"The only purpose for that medication was to hasten his death, so he could do what he was there to do and harvest his organs," said prosecutor Karen Gray.

Roozrokh, 34, of San Francisco, has pleaded not guilty and faces up to four years in prison if convicted. A judge dismissed two other felony counts in March.

The case against Roozrokh is believed to be the first of its kind brought against a transplant doctor in the United States.

Ruben Navarro, aged 26, died in February 2006 at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. He had a debilitating neurological disease and was in a coma after a heart attack.

Mr Navarro's kidneys and liver were never harvested because the organs were no longer considered capable of living when he died. After it was determined that his organs weren't going to be gathered, he was taken to the hospital's intensive care unit where he died about seven hours later.

Last year, the hospital settled a lawsuit filed last year by Ruben Navarro's mother, Rose Navarro, for $250,000. Under terms of the settlement, the hospital acknowledged no wrongdoing.

Dr Roozeokh's trial is expected to last three months.

See also:
Prosecutor: Doctor tried to hasten patient's death
Organ harvest surgeon’s trial begins in SLO

(h/t to PatriciaEBauer for this update)