Jamie Lee Morales was a 30-year-old looking to have a legal abortion in 2016. She visited one New York doctor who had previously performed over 40,000 successful abortions, Dr. Robert Rho. Morales agreed to pay the doctor $6,000 for the operation, but it did not go as planned.
After the operation, Morales continued to suffer from post-operative bleeding. Dr. Rho was forced to do an additional procedure to stop the bleeding, but this secondary procedure was unsuccessful. The victim was not recovering and reportedly collapsed in the bathroom of the clinic. Despite this, Dr. Rho sent the patient home with her sister.
On the drive home, Morales lost consciousness in her sister’s vehicle. Her sister immediately called 911, and first responders rushed her to the nearest hospital. Hospital staff were not able to save Morales. This tragedy prompted the doctor to close his facility and surrender his medical license.
Typically, instances of medical errors are not prosecuted criminally, but many are arguing that this doctor’s mistakes went far beyond malpractice. The doctor didn’t call an ambulance or even inform the patient that she should seek medical treatment. Instead, he advised her to return home. On top of this, further investigations revealed that the doctor had already previously been investigated by the state. He had previously been accused of improperly performing procedures and having medical assistants who lacked medical training.
On May 11th, Dr. Rho pleaded guilty to the criminally negligent homicide of Jamie Morales. It is clear that the doctor’s procedure severed the victim’s uterine aorta, ripped her cervix and pierced her uterine wall which led to her death. He was facing up to 15 years in prison, but this lesser charge may still result in up to four years of jail time.