A doctor from Nassau has been indicted in connection with a botched late-term abortion that killed his patient in July, the Queens District Attorney’s Office said.
Robert Rho, 52, of Lake Success, was charged with second-degree manslaughter for failing to provide care for a 30-year-old woman on July 9 when he perforated her uterine wall and cut an artery, then “recklessly” caused her death by failing to provide “appropriate and timely” care, District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a news release.
He pleaded not guilty at arraignment Tuesday.
The woman had come to abort her 23-week-old fetus, and in the recovery room of Rho’s Flushing practice, the Liberty Women’s Health Care of Queens, the woman was bleeding profusely and had to undergo a second procedure, authorities said.
She was then allowed to leave the facility with her sister, even though she had collapsed and appeared disoriented, prosecutors said.
On the drive to her sister’s Bronx home, the woman fell off the backseat and became unresponsive, prosecutors said.
She was taken to a Bronx hospital, where she was treated for vaginal bleeding and given six units of blood.
She was pronounced dead that night, officials said.
Rho’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman of Manhattan, said the doctor stitched the cuts in a second procedure.
“It wasn’t like she stumbled out of there and he just like kicked her out the door,” Lichtman said. “She left under her own power. There were issues that arose during the procedure and he corrected them, he thought. ... He did not know she was bleeding, or he wouldn’t have let her go.”
He said Rho, who owns the practice, has done “thousands” of abortions over 23 years without a disciplinary blot on his license.
What happened is a tragedy and may be grounds for a negligence lawsuit but not manslaughter, Lichtman said.
Rho was released on a $400,00 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison, prosecutors said.