Thursday, October 13, 2016

Queens Doc Charged With Manslaughter for July, 2016 Abortion Death

Snapshot of the face of a young Hispanic woman giving the camera a Mona Lisa smile.
Jamie Lee Morales
On July 9, 2016, 30-year-old Jamie Lee Morales of Buffalo, New York, had her sister drive her to Liberty Women's Health in Flushing, Queens, for a second-trimester abortion. The doctor, 53-year-old gynecologist Robert Rho, specialized in "vaginal rejuvenation" but also did what his attorney described as "difficult" abortions.

Jamie Lee signed in under an assumed name, Thaycha Ruiz, and underwent the procedure. In the recovery room, she noticed that she was bleeding heavily. Dr. Rho performed another procedure that was intended to stop the bleeding.

Though Jamie Lee was weak and woozy, and at one point collapsed, Rho discharged her in the care of her sister with instructions to go to a hospital if the bleeding resumed.

Jamie Lee was riding in the back seat on the way to her sister's home in the Bronx when she lost consciousness, falling to the floor. Her sister took her to a hospital, where, in spite of being transfused with six units of blood, she died that night. It turned out that during the abortion, Rho had lacerated her cervix, put a hole in the wall of her uterus, and cut into a uterine artery.

A middle-aged Korean man with eyeglasses and a mustache
Dr. Robert Rho
Rho was charged with second-degree manslaughter in Jamie Lee's death because he injured her so severely and then failed to provide necessary life-saving care. Adding to the unprofessionalism of the case is the fact that Rho disposed of Jamie Lee's fetus in a black plastic trash bag outside the door of his clinic.

As of this writing, Rho is free on $400,000 bail. He was required to surrender his passport and is not to practice medicine until the case is resolved. His attorney said that Rho was "devastated" by Jamie Lee's death and immediately and voluntarily closed his clinic.

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