Monday, December 22, 2008

Surgeon cleared on charges of speeding the death of his patient during organ extraction

The New York Times reported on Friday that Dr Hootan C Roozrokh has been found not guilty in connection with the death of Ruben Navarro. 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. Here is an extract from the NYT report:

San Francisco, California - A California transplant surgeon was acquitted on Dec. 18 of a charge that he had intentionally harmed a donor to speed extraction of the patient’s kidney and liver. The verdict closed a case that had drawn widespread attention to the medical, and ethical, complexities of organ transplantation.

The surgeon, Dr. Hootan C. Roozrokh, was found not guilty of a single felony charge of abuse of a dependent adult, after two other felony charges — administering harmful substances and unlawful prescription — were dropped last spring.

Prosecutors had argued that Dr. Roozrokh, 35, prescribed excessive amount of drugs during a failed harvesting procedure on a brain-damaged donor, Ruben Navarro, in San Luis Obispo, in February 2006.

The doctor’s lawyer, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, had said that Dr. Roozrokh, a surgeon based in San Francisco who had flown in to retrieve the organs, had been trying to ease the patient’s suffering after other doctors failed to perform their duties.

Very best wishes to Ruben's mother, Rose Navarro. RIP, Ruben.

For earlier reports, see:Prosecutor: Doctoherer tried to hasten patient's death, Organ harvest surgeon’s trial begins in SLO