Monday, April 28, 2008

People Magazine’s Spin on Our Current Dr. Death

You know you’ve reached celebrity status when you get a spread in People Magazine. You really have to work at getting page time if you’re not a behaviorally challenged starlet or in the midst of a celebrity divorce or marriage.

Enter Dr. Hootan Roozrokh. Remember him? He was the subject of my Doctor Power commentary on April 7th. The good doctor needed organs, but Ruben Navarro just wouldn’t die so that Roozkrokh could get them. So Roozrokh did his energetic best to help Ruben along by repeatedly pumping him full of morphine and Ativan.

It took eight hours before Ruben “frothing at the mouth and shivering” (as a witness nurse told police) finally succumbed.

Now, here’s the part that concerns me about the People piece.

First, the title: Did a Doctor Speed a Patient’s Death?

As if there’s a mystery here.

No mystery at all, in my opinion. Every report on this case unequivocally points to the fact that Dr. Roozrokh repeatedly pumped Ruben full of fatal doses of drugs after Ruben kept breathing without a ventilator. What other conclusion could there be than that Dr. Roozkroh was speeding death? He certainly wasn’t waiting for it to occur naturally, and he sure as heck wasn’t trying to prolong Ruben’s life.

Second, the red “grabber box” above the People headline reads “Organ Donation.” The piece spends a lot of time handwringing that what happened to Ruben might translate into fewer people wanting to donate their organs.

Well, duh.

Let’s see: You want to donate your organs at some point but you’re afraid that some overenthusiastic transplant harvester won’t have the patience to wait for you to actually be dead. Or Dr. Harvester might actually expend amazing amounts of energy just to “help you along.” Afraid sounds reasonable to me.

Anyone who still thinks organ donation is always such a great idea needs to read Wesley Smith’s Culture of Death. It’s enough to set the organ donation idea back a hundred years. Perhaps it should.

Predictably, People soft-pedaled the real issue here:

Ruben was killed by a medical doctor because he would be more use dead than alive. Ruben was killed because he couldn’t defend himself or his rights as a human being. Ruben was killed because his mother was pressured, repeatedly, to permit organ harvesting.

That’s where we are, folks.

Have a severe disability? Unable to assert your rights? Don’t worry, Doctor Power can help.

The medical harvesters await.


Deborah said...

I too read the People article. His mother whose English is choppy first refused the Doctor's entreaties;in her grief she was manipulated into believing that some "good" could come from her son's death. No one should be allowed to assail a grieving mother with the patent nonsense that something good could come from this.
P.S. I am off to the DMV to get the organ donor heart removed from my driver's license.

Dr. Mark Mostert said...

Thanks, Deborah. There's been nothing in this sad series of events that report a balanced view was given - that yes, it might be a good thing to give permission to have your child's organs donated, but, equally, if you do not wish to do so, that's OK too.

Here's the real reason, in, my opinion - more and more, among the harvesters, it's really not OK if you don't want your child snuffed out for their ends.

Too bad.

Don't forget to talk to your doctor about this.

Canda said...

Wow - People Magazine - are you kidding me?? You, Dr. Mostert, I would expect better of you. I have followed this case closely and I encourage you to seek out the facts of this case - including perhaps reading the ruling by the judge in the criminal matter - you will see that this patient was not "killed" and in fact, died of "natural causes" per the coroner. And it might interest you to know that Dr. Roozrokh is NOT the doctor who spoke with the patient's mother about donation and was not called until AFTER that decisin was made. We see with the first comment here that people are removing themselves from donor lists without the real facts - this is the great travesty of this story.

karolpierson said...

In 2002 my sister was dying and had not signed a donor donation card or authorized donor donation on her state liscence or identification card. In August of 2002 we were told that she was not expected to recover and little was done for her medicinally. Her 'creature' comforts were not forthcoming and as her sister, I had to verbally threaten the staff to give her something to ease her pain and suffering. She died that same month.

She happened to have died in a hospital that was known for harvesting organs. My nephew, her son, was eighteen at the time was asked about donating his mother's organs and he said, "No." He did not want his mother's organs harvested. He felt she had suffered so much in her life he did not want to destroy anymore of her.

The doctors circumvented my nephew and slithered over to my other siblings and asked us what we thought. We all felt the same as her son and especially wanted to honor his wishes and immediately replied no "as" well.

We authorized the removal of the remains to the funeral director. We were told by the funeral director that there was to be a slight delay as the hospital had a few last minute details to conclude. We didn't think much of the "delay" until the funeral director remarked about our familiy's generosity in donating my sister's corneas and her kidneys.

When we questioned the administrative staff as to who signed a release for the organ donation, they showed us a signature of my sister's daughter who was ten years old at the time.

So, you see,whether you consent to being an organ donor or not, unethetical parties will do what they want to do and get what they want and get away with it.