Flushing doctor pleads guilty to negligent homicide after abortion gone-wrong: DA

Robert Rho, a former plastic surgeon known for vaginal rejuvenation, was arrested in 2016 after a botched abortion killed one of his patients.
Photo by Ellis Kaplan
By Mark Hallum

A doctor who used to work at a Flushing medical facility for women has pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide after a botched abortion led to the death of one of his patients, the Queens district attorney said.

Great Neck resident Dr. Robert Rho, 55, worked at Liberty Women’s Health of Queens at 37-01 Main St. and performed an abortion procedure on a 30-year-old woman in July 2016, according to DA Richard Brown said.

The patient’s uterine wall was damaged during the procedure and she died of her injuries shortly after leaving Rho’s office, according to Brown. The disgraced doctor admitted not providing the proper care for his patient after the surgery, he said.

“Sadly, a 30-year-old woman lost her life as a result of the surgery,” Brown said. “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. He will go to prison as a result of his actions.”

Brown said the woman, accompanied by her sister, had the surgery done at the facility where Rho worked at about 1 p.m. July 9, 2016. Rho caused a laceration on the victim’s cervix, which caused a perforation of the uterine wall and led to a “disruption and transection of the uterine artery.”

The woman bled profusely in the recovery, where Rho performed a second surgery to repair the damage instead of seeking emergency medical care for the victim, trial testimony showed.

The victim was released from Rho’s care and on the ride back to her sister’s house in the Bronx, she fell in the backseat of the car and became unresponsive.

She was treated at Bronx hospital for vaginal bleeding and given six units of blood. She was ultimately pronounced dead later that night, according to Brown.

The trial presided over by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak dragged on for four weeks. But as the jury deliberated on the second full day of the trial, Rho decided to plead guilty instead.

Rho is scheduled to be sentenced on June 26 and faces 16 months to four years behind bars.

Liberty Women’s Health of Queens has since closed its doors.

Yelp reviews for the clinic Rho operated out of earned the business 2 1/2 stars with clients complaining of Rho’s “mean” and erratic behavior, with one customer referring to her second visit in which he called an employee “stupid.”

Another reviewer backed up the first client’s statement, saying Rho was aggressive with an assistant and described Liberty Women’s Health as a “horrible place.”

The clinic described itself on the review website as “Board-Certified OB/GYN – Extremely Low Complication Rate.”

In 2011, a Queens grand jury the sexual harassment claim of one of Rho’s former employees during the time when the physician was practicing cosmetic surgery, particularly vaginal rejuvenation, according to a 2011 article from the Daily News.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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