A Great Neck physician who admitted botching a 2016 abortion in his Queens clinic — leading to a woman’s death — was sentenced to up to four years in prison Tuesday, said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
Robert Rho, 55, who pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide after three days of jury deliberations in his four-week trial last month, was sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak to 1 1⁄3 to 4 years in prison, Brown said in a news release.
“This was a very sad case,” Brown said. “A 30-year-old woman, who had recently graduated from college and had her whole life ahead of her, died as the result of this botched procedure. The doctor has accepted responsibility and admitted his failure to provide adequate care following surgery.”
Rho’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman of Manhattan, called the development “a sad day for both families,” adding that Rho expressed remorse at his sentencing Tuesday for the July 9, 2016, death of Jamie Lee Morales, 30.
“At last, Dr. Rho will be able to put this behind him once he finishes this relatively short sentence,” Lichtman said.
During the trial, jurors were close to reaching a verdict on a second-degree manslaughter charge against Rho before he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge. He had faced up to 15 years behind bars for manslaughter.
According to trial testimony, Morales went to Liberty Women’s Health of Queens with her sister on July 9, 2016, for an abortion. But, during the procedure, Rho caused a laceration in Morales’ cervix, a perforation of the uterine wall and a disruption and transection of the uterine artery, officials have said.
Morales bled profusely and Rho performed a second surgery to stop the bleeding, prosecutors said, but he didn’t realize Morales needed emergency medical care. Morales collapsed in a vehicle during the drive to her sister’s Bronx home and was transported to a hospital where she was treated for vaginal bleeding but died that night.