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Posted by on Mar 5, 2008 in Ethics

Roozrokh Prelim Hearing Continues: Conflicting Accounts and Neuro Testimony

Roozrokh Prelim Hearing Continues: Conflicting Accounts and Neuro Testimony

More testimony from the preliminary hearing in the criminal case against transplant surgeon Hootan Roozrakh indicates conflicting accounts of the attempt to harvest Ruben Navarro’s organs on the night of February 3, 2006. According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, county coroner investigator Stephen Crawford testified that he could not reconcile information provided by Navarro’s attending physician Laura Lubarsky and that from transplant nurse coordinator Carla Albright. Lubarsky allegedly claimed that she was not informed of her role in Navarro’s cardiac-death donation that evening by the transplant team, but Albright stated that she had “told Lubarsky to direct Navarro’s care.”

Also expert witness and Santa Barbara neurologist David Frecker, MD, testified yesterday that the massive doses of morphine and lorazepam (Ativan) given to Navarro would only be intended to suppress respiration. Frecker reportedly stated that he was surprised that the medication did not kill Navarro.

Cross-examination of Frecker by Roozrokh’s attorney, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, provides two interesting bits of information. Schwartzbach indicated that 1) a nurse recommended the high dose of morphine for Navarro, because of the patient’s alleged tolerance, and 2) the medical records for the time during which Navarro’s organs were to be harvested were lost.

bmartin (1127 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.