CALIFORNIA– A San Francisco surgeon is undergoing trial for allegedly hastening the death of a terminally ill patient to harvest his vital organs.
The case against Hootan Roozrokh is believed to be the first of its kind brought against an American transplant surgeon.
Rosa Navarro, the patient’s mother, successfully filed suit against the hospital where the patient died and received $250,000 in compensation. Now the District Attorney’s office is pressing charges against the 34-year-old surgeon for “dependent adult abuse, administering a harmful substance and prescribing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.”
Roozrokh is also being charged with giving the 25-year old Ruben Navarro an antiseptic called Betadine, normally administered to an organ donor after death, via feeding tube to the stomach. Some commentators suggest the antiseptic was ultimately responsible for the patient’s death.
Roozrokh attempted to induce what is known as “cardiac death,” a new criteria for determining “death,” by delivering abnormally high doses of painkillers in order to retrieve vital organs from Ruben Navarro. “Cardiac death” is distinct from “brain death,” an older criterion for determining death that requires a cessation of all brain function prior to harvesting vital organs.
Toronto physician and LifeSiteNews medical adviser Dr. John Shea, MD, FRCP (C), says that in order to determine if a patient meets the “cardiac death” criteria the patient’s respirator is removed while the heart is still beating.
“If the heart stopped beating within an hour, the surgeon waited two to five minutes before taking out the organs. If the heart had not stopped beating within an hour, the patient would be returned to a hospital bed to die without any further treatment,” writes Dr. Shea.
On January 29, 2006, Ruben Navarro stopped breathing on his own, and was put on a respirator. On February 3 he still had not recovered consciousness, though his mother claimed she saw “signs of recovery.”