California Doctor Faces Criminal Charges for Allegedly Hastening Death To Harvest Organs

In Los Angeles, there is a case that raises both criminal and tort allegations of a doctor accused of hastening the death of a young man to harvest his organs. Dr. Hootan Roozrokh, a San Francisco transplant surgeon, is accused of the crime 2 1/2 years ago in the death of Ruben Navarro, 25.

Navarro died in a San Luis Obispo hospital after a heart attack, after he was taken off a ventilator and prepared for organ donation.

Roozrokh, 34, faces one count of felony dependent adult abuse and a potential of four years in prison. There is also civil liability that may follow in a torts case. Navarro had a debilitating neurological disease and was in a coma after the heart attack. However, his kidneys and liver were never harvested because he did not die within a time frame needed for the organs to be viable.

The case is based on statements from nurses in the operating room that Roozrokh improperly ordered excessive doses of morphine and a sedative for Navarro.

Roozrokh was associated with Kaiser Permanente’s now-closed kidney transplant program.

The hospital and its parent company settled a lawsuit last year filed by Rosa Navarro for $250,000.

For the full story, click here and here and here.

7 thoughts on “California Doctor Faces Criminal Charges for Allegedly Hastening Death To Harvest Organs”

  1. This is why I am not an organ donor. Don’t misunderstand, it’s an important thing to do and I’m all for private arrangements, but when the medical profession is dominated by greed is it wise to trust a doctor with your life when someone with more money is willing to pay for your liver?

  2. This doctor should be sitting in jail for a while to ponder the error of his ways! This is an outrageous violation of his ethics and probably the law. Jill, in 2010 when then the estate tax rate goes to zero, we may have additional “pull the plug” or “keep the old guy going” decisions during that year for the mere purpose of saving people money.

  3. Sally,

    What you just wrote is very poignant. It would be a horrible decision to make.


  4. I think it would be hard to let go of a loved one, especially a spouse. Everyone wants to be that miracle story; it’s just the way people are.

    My husband and I have it written in our wills that neither one of us want to be on life support (basically having a machine breathe for us). But if it became a reality for either one of us, I know it would be hard to honor that wish, even if it is in a will.

  5. I think this will become a growing problem as time goes by and I suspect that it already is a world wide problem. For the most part I think that money is driving it and will drive it even further. In most cases the people who get the organs and their families will look the other way, but in truth how much would any of us pay to save a loved one? The whole of this area of medicine must be meticulously regulated world wide or the consequences will be heinous, but I fear that this regulatory zeal will not happen, being trumped by huge financial rewards and great demand.

  6. I read an interesting article about a movement to reverse the shifting of the definition of death from cardiac arrest to a complete lack of brain activity, as this has led to a number of situations where individuals with no hope of recovery are kept on life support and their organs become unusable for others. Obviously the 1/100,000,000 shot of recovery makes this seem worth it when it’s your loved one.

    All I know is that I’m glad I’m a law student and not a medical ethicist.

Comments are closed.