A physician from Great Neck admitted Friday that he was negligent when he performed a 2016 abortion that led to a woman’s death, Queens prosecutors said.
Robert Rho, 55, who had been charged with manslaughter, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide after three days of jury deliberations in his four-week trial, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
“Sadly, a 30-year-old woman lost her life as a result of the surgery,” Brown said in a statement. “The doctor has now accepted responsibility and admitted he failed to realize the damage he’d done and did not provide appropriate and timely medical care following the surgery.”
Rho’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman of Manhattan, said he reached a plea deal with prosecutors after jurors claimed they had deadlocked.
“I would consider this to be a win of gigantic proportions for us,” Lichtman said, noting that his client will serve a shorter term than what he faced if convicted of manslaughter.
“This was a horrible accident,” Lichtman said. “It was negligence, which is what I always claimed.”
Rho is to be sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak on June 26. He faces up to four years in prison, officials said.
According to trial testimony, Jamie Lee Morales went to Liberty Women’s Health of Queens with her sister on July 9, 2016, for an abortion. During the surgery, Rho caused a laceration in her cervix, a perforation of the uterine wall and a disruption and transection of the uterine artery, officials said.
He then “failed to provide the woman with appropriate and timely medical attention” when she bled profusely, officials said. Rho performed a second surgery to stop the bleeding, prosecutors said, but didn’t realize Morales needed emergency medical care.
Morales collapsed in a vehicle during the drive to her sister’s home in the Bronx and was transported to a hospital where she was treated for vaginal bleeding, officials said.
She was pronounced dead the same night, officials said.