Health Law

Did Transplant Doc Speed Donor's Death?

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In what may be the first case of its kind in the country, a San Francisco transplant surgeon has been charged with intentionally hastening a patient’s death in order to harvest his organs for another patient.

Dr. Hootan Roozrokh, 33, allegedly prescribed excessive medication to a mentally and physically disabled man, in order to speed his death, reports the Los Angeles Times. He has been charged by the San Luis Obispo County district attorney’s office with dependent adult abuse, administering a harmful substance and prescribing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose. If convicted, he would face up to eight years in prison.

“The law and the facts indicated that Dr. Roozrokh … tried to accelerate [the patient’s] death to facilitate the harvesting of his organs,” says Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephen Brown.

Roozrokh is accused of ordering massive amounts of painkillers for Ruben Navarro on Feb. 3, 2006, as well as having a Betadine antiseptic solution inserted into his stomach through a feeding tube. That is normally done after a donor is dead, reports the Times.

M. Gerald Schwartzbach, who represents Roozrokh, says he is an “extremely dedicated and accomplished organ transplant surgeon” and described the charges as “unfounded and ill-advised.”

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