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Posted by on Feb 29, 2008 in Ethics

More on Roozrokh Case: Lubarsky Testimony

More on Roozrokh Case: Lubarsky Testimony

In its continuing coverage of the criminal case against transplant surgeon Hootan Roozrokh, MD, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports on the second day of testimony from Laura Lubarsky, MD, at a preliminary hearing. Lubarsky is the critical-care specialist who served as Ruben Navarro’s attending physician at the Sierra Vista Medical Center on the night of February 3, 2006, when Navarro’s organs were to be harvested during cardiac-death donation.

Lubarsky, who has received immunity from prosecution, reportedly described her role on the night in question in conflicting terms: although an “independent observer” of the organ-donation process, she admitted to also having “an ethical and legal obligation to protect [Navarro] from harm.” The reported facts of the case suggest that Lubarsky acted more consistently (and regrettably) as a spectator in Navarro’s end-of-life care, while the patient was given massive doses of morphine and lorazepam, which were ordered by Roozrokh.

Lubarsky admitted yesterday on the stand that Navarro, once his mechanical ventilation was removed, did not exhibit the signs of pain or distress that would warrant such large doses of analgesic or sedating medication. Lubarsky also implied either ignorance or confusion regarding her role as attending physician in the process of cardiac-death donation.

Information to date suggests that the final events of Ruben Navarro’s life are a consequence of the unhappy meeting of extreme passivity and aggressiveness in Lubarsky and Roozrokh, respectively.

bmartin (1130 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.