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Betadine, Dr. Roozrokh?

Editor's Note: In 2008, Dr. Hootan Roozrokh was wrongly accused of improper organ harvesting at a San Luis Opisbo, California hospital. Dr. Roozrokh was initially charged with prescribing overdoses of medication to speed up the death of a severely ill 25-year-old man named  and harvest his organs. The jury dismissed these charges after two days of deliberation. The plaintiff - the deceased's mother and the Organ Donor Network - withdrew their lawsuits against Dr. Roozrokh following the trial. The article below was written in 2008, before all the facts of the trial were known.

Two years ago in San Luis Opisbo, California, the paths of Dr. Hootan Roozrokh (transplant surgeon from Stanford University) and 25 year old Ruben Navarro (disabled patient with adrenoleukodystrophy [ALD]) crossed in Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. Today, Mr. Navarro is dead and Dr. Roozrokh faces three felony counts relating to his care and a civil suit filed by Mr. Navarro's mother. Dr. Roozrokh was not working for the medical center and was not in any way involved in the care of Mr. Navarro, who had been transferred from an assisted living center to the medical center following a cardiac and respiratory arrest. Mr. Navarro had been placed on life-support. Dr. Roozrokh was working for a regional organ procurement group, the California Transplant Donor Network.

Facts:
  • It is against California state law for transplant doctors to direct treatment of patients until they are declared dead
    • This restriction is in place to protect vulnerable patients and families so that organ retrieval does not take precedence over patient care.
  • Dr. Roozrokh was not authorized by Sierra Vista Medical Center to care for patients or order medications
  • Dr. Arturo Martinez and Dr. Roozrokh are both under investigation by the California State Medical Board
  • The United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees organ allocation, reprimanded the California Transplant Donor Network for breaking protocol in the case of Mr. Navarro.
  • Mr. Navarro was taken from ICU to the OR by the transplant team. It was then that Dr. Roozrokh began directing "end-of-life care", according to federal investigators. At 11:10 PM 100 mg of morphine and 40 mg of Ativan were administered and his breathing tube was removed. Navarro's heart kept beating, so he was given another 100 mg of morphine and 40 mg of Ativan by the ICU nurse who accompanied them to the OR.
    • Morphine causes respiratory depression
      • the dosages given of both of the medications are about 10 x the usual therapuetic dosage
      • Mr. Navarro weighed 80 lbs.
      • 140 mg. of Morphine is the recommended dosage for anesthetizing a 1200 lb. horse.
    • After 30 minutes, the organs are no longer viable. Mr. Navarro's heart kept beating. He was wheeled back to the ICU. He died the next morning. His organs were never harvested.
Betadine? The New York Times is reporting today that Dr. Roozrokh administered Betadine to Mr. Navarro. You know that brown liquid stuff that health care staff use to clean and disinfect the skin? That is betadine or povidone iodine...I have never seen it administered internally. What? Blogger Cilla Slugga reports that:
      • It is routine to administer Betadine via nasogastric tube into the stomach of an organ donor - after the donor is dead
      • Dr. Roozrokh did the procedure while Mr. Navarro was still alive resulting in iodine poisoning
Dr. Roozrokh was not alone in the room with Mr. Navarro that night. Five other health care professionals were present, plus a pharmacist released the massive doses of medications. Is the American Society of Transplant Surgeons alarmed by this breach of ethics and alleged criminal activity? Donate Life America reports 18 people per day die waiting for an organ. Honestly, people seem more alarmed that organ donations might drop than in stepping back and taking a look at this horrifying picture.

A disabled man entered a hospital for care. He died. A multidisciplinary health care team may have hastened his death...that's sick. That's predatory. That's appalling. It's against the law. And it's wrong.

Thank you djfiander for use of photo Human organ for transplant.
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