Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The New York Times reports on the prosecution of a California doctor for allegedly hastening the death of a patient in order to retrieve his organs. According to the criminal complaint, the doctor "ordered excessive doses of morphine and Ativan, an anti-anxiety medicine, both of which are used to comfort dying patients." The complaint also charges that the doctor introduced Betadine, a topical antiseptic which may cause death if ingested, into the patient.
“If you think a malpractice lawsuit is scaring surgeons off, wait to see what happens when people see a surgeon being charged criminally and going to jail,” said Dr. Goran B. Klintmalm, president of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, who added that he considered the case unprecedented.
The patient's mother also has filed a civil suit against the doctor, the donor network, and other doctors in the operating room. The mother separately settled a civil suit against the hospital.