Former Portland-area doctor sentenced in botched tummy-tuck that killed employee

By Helen Jung | The Oregonian | October 14, 2013

As she struggled to control her emotion, Teena Marie Porter looked at the doctor who caused her mother's death and unleashed her anger.

"You have done so wrong in every oath that you've taken," Porter said to Soraya Ann Abbassian on Monday in a Multnomah County courtroom. "You've taken away somebody who was so wonderful in this world. You deserve so much worse than you're getting."

Porter's comments came shortly before Multnomah County Circuit Judge Jean Kerr Maurer sentenced the 45-year-old Abbassian to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service, as recommended by prosecutors who negotiated the plea agreement with Abbassian's attorney. The sentence, which includes no jail time unless Abbassian violates her probation, also bars her from practicing medicine.

The judge noted the sentence will prevent Abbassian from ever providing medical services again. It takes into account Abbassian's "many good deeds" over her lifetime, Maurer said, though the judge acknowledged: "This resolution will never make the victims whole."

Abbassian pleaded no contest last month to one count of criminally negligent homicide in connection with the December 2010 death of Judith Ann DesMarets, Abbassian's employee. Prosecutors said the 59-year-old nurse suffered a seizure after Abbassian injected toxic doses of anesthetics into her in preparation for a tummy tuck, which Abbassian was giving DesMarets for free in her Northeast Portland clinic.

Abbassian, an internal medicine doctor, was not board-certified to perform surgeries. In addition, investigators said Abbassian had no emergency equipment on hand and that she stopped providing CPR to DesMarets by the time paramedics arrived. DesMarets died four days later.

In her statement to the court, Abbassian did not offer an apology but noted that DesMarets had been her "dearest friend" and that the two were "soul sisters" who emotionally supported one another as well as worked together to provide compassionate care for patients.

"I am and always will be deeply affected and saddened by this tragic accident and her death," she said, adding that she felt only "sorrow and love" for DesMarets' family members.

"The pain of an unexpected death only eases with time," she said. "There is no other salve or bandage or earthly remedy."

Abbassian, who lived in Lake Oswego, has since moved to Pennsylvania.