San Luis Obispo County prosecutors have charged a transplant surgeon with prescribing excessive drugs to a disabled patient to hasten his death and harvest his organs.I hear this story will be covered on CNN's Nancy Grace show this evening. (Update: Show transcript is here.)
Here are the Facts First:
Ruben Navarro of San Luis Obispo was admitted to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center on January 29th, 2006. The 26-year-old was placed on life support and identified as a potential organ donor. In February, California transplant donor network Doctor Hootan Roozrokh came to San Luis Obispo to procure Navarro's organs.
The San Francisco surgeon is facing three separate felony charges in connection with the death of Rueben Navarro.
Navarro was a patient of a local skilled nursing facility when he suffered respiratory and cardiac arrest.
He was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center where doctors determined he had minimal brain function.
However, he was not declared brain dead.
The San Luis Obispo County district attorney's office alleges that when Dr. Roozrokh arrived at Sierra Vista he gave Navarro medications including morphine and Ativan to speed up his death.
Note that my headline above is not what the news link declares. The criminal charges against the doctor currently include "mistreatment of a dependent, severely disabled adult" and "administering a harmful substance and unlawful controlled substance prescription." But really, the sum of and point of the charges is that the man was killed so the transplant surgery could begin.
Here's a link to a UC-Berkeley site called Organs Watch that tracks worldwide trafficking and abuse.