Calif. medical board withdraws complaint against transplant surgeon

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 22, 2009

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The Medical Board of California on May 27 withdrew a complaint against a transplant surgeon accused of hastening a man's death to procure the patient's organs.

In December 2008, a jury cleared Hootan Roozrokh, MD, of criminal charges for alleged adult dependent abuse in the death of a patient who went into a coma after a heart attack. State prosecutors had alleged that the surgeon administered excessive doses of painkillers to speed Ruben Navarro's death in order to get his organs more quickly. Dr. Roozrokh denied any wrongdoing.

During the criminal trial, additional information came to the attention of the state deputy attorney general, who filed the complaint with the state medical board, said board spokeswoman Candis Cohen.

The deputy attorney general "filed the accusation in good faith. But evidence came out she did not have at the time, and we determined we could no longer sustain our burden of proof," Cohen said. The case caught the medical community's attention over fears it would chill organ donation and physicians' participation in transplant surgery.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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