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6 mo. Sentence for Mass. Dr. in Abortion Death

By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 15, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Dr. Rapin Osathanondh, the Massachusetts doctor that stood trial for the death of an abortion patient, has plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Osathanondh was sentenced to six months in prison, followed by nine months of home confinement with electronic monitoring for the 2007 death of 22 year-old Laura Hope Smith.

According to MSNBC, the 67 year-old doctor has been licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts since 1975, and also serves as a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition to resigning from his prestigious teaching position, Osathanondh is also banned from practicing medicine as a result of the abortion death. Originally from Thailand, Osathanondh settled the civil medical malpractice suit on the matter for $2 million earlier this week.

The case was less about abortion (although the fact that the controversial procedure was being performed led to tremendous publicity) and more about the doctor's failure to observe basic operating room procedures, a lapse in judgment that had deadly consequences. MSNBC adds details on the prosecutors case against Osathanondh:

"he engaged in conduct that calls into question his competence to practice medicine. He failed to monitor her while she was under anesthesia, delayed calling emergency services when her heart stopped, and later tried to cover up his actions."

In pleading guilty, Rapin Osathanondh expedited a potentially long and medically technical trial. Laura Smith's mother sums up the case, "Nobody won. Laura got justice, but it's a tragedy all the way around."

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