Case Against Transplant Doc Raises Concern

Prosecution claims he killed for organs; others say technique to blame
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 11:11 AM CST
This police booking photo released by the San Luis Obispo, Calif., County Sheriff's department, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007, shows Dr. Hootan Roozrokh, 33, who is accused of prescribing excessive drugs to...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Charges against a California surgeon for hastening the death of a disabled man so his organs could be harvested for transplants has advocates worried, the New York Times reports. At issue is whether Dr. Hootan Roozrokh ignored protocol in pursuit of organs for transplant or if he misused, or misunderstood, a less-often-used harvesting technique.

The case will put the "donation after cardiac death" procedure in the spotlight, and there are fears it could stop people from donating organs—and stop surgeons transplanting them. “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," one transplant expert said.