SUMMARY: Jamie Lee Morales, age 30, died on July 9, 2016, after a 23-week abortion performed in Queens, New York by Dr. Robert Rho.Jamie Lee MoralesOn 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 late 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 took her back into the procedure room and put in some sutures 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.Dr. Robert RhoRho 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 23-week fetus in a black plastic trash bag outside the door of his clinic.
Rho’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, asserted his client’s competence, saying that he’d performed “thousands” of abortions over a 23 year period without the board taking medical action against him.
“It wasn’t like she stumbled out of there and he just kicked her out the door,” Llichtman said. “She left under her own power. There were issues that arose … and he corrected them, he thought.”
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.
- “Queens gynecologist arrested for manslaughter three months after woman bled to death after abortion,” New York Daily News, October 11, 2016
- “Queens Doctor Is Charged in Woman’s Death After Abortion Procedure,” New York Times, October 11, 2016
- “Nassau doctor charged with manslaughter in patient’s death, DA says,” New York Newsday, October 11, 2016