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Friday, February 29th 2008

Transplant Surgeon Charged In Hastening A Patient's Death

A transplant surgeon is charged with hastening a patient’s death, after coming to a hospital he did not have priviliges at to retrieve organs from a patient, and making some overzealous medication orders at the end of life. This entire case could defintely have some negative consequences.

[A] transplant team including Dr. Roozrokh arrived at the hospital. .

According to a police interview with Jennifer Endsley, a nurse, Dr. Roozrokh stayed in the room during the removal of the respirator and gave orders for medication, something that would violate donation protocol. Ms. Endsley, who stayed to watch because she had never seen the procedure, also told the police that Dr. Roozrokh also asked an emergency room nurse to find and administer more “candy” — meaning drugs — after Mr. Navarro did not die after the removal of his respirator.

Dr. Roozrokh shouldn’t have even been in the room with the patient and he certainly shouldn’t have been making orders for the patient’s care at a hospital with which he was unaffiliated. In his Kaiser Permanente online biography, Dr. Roozrokh says,

I THRIVE by endeavoring to practice good karma.

That will certainly be tested here.

I will say there is at least something fishy about the civil complaints (if not the criminal charges) he is facing. Obviously it is difficult to put yourself in the place of a parent who has lost a child, but the civil suit by the mother seems borderline…at best. Indeed, it doesn’t even appear she was around when they took her son off life support. And her excuse for such, if accurately reported by the media (always a possibility that it wasn’t), borders on ludicrous.

Ms. Navarro, a disabled machinist from Oxnard, Calif., said she did not have enough money to stay another night near her son.

Now, despite the fact that the coroner has already ruled the patient’s death was of natural causes, the mother has filed suit against everyone involved (and already settled with the hospital). We don’t know the whole story or the whole of the mother’s position and obviously I cannot ever truly empathize, truly understand her pain but you can’t help but question some elements of her lawsuit.

In the end, despite Dr. Roozrokh’s actions the organs ended up being unusable. Just an unfortunate story all the way around. Hopefully this will not scare desperately needed organ donors away.