Doctor pleads no contest and avoids jail in death of employee to whom she was giving an after hours 'tummy tuck' for free

By The Daily Mail | September 13, 2013

A doctor who attempted to perform a late-night tummy tuck on an employee who later died has dodged jail time.

Dr. Soraya Abbassian, 45, yesterday plead no-contest to criminally negligent homicide over the death of 59-year-old Judith Ann DesMarets in 2010.

DesMarets died four days after Abbassian gave her anesthetic in preparation for free cosmetic surgery, without staff or proper equipment, at Woodland Park Medical Plaza in Oregon.

Abbassian didn't have the essential emergency equipment needed to revive the mother of two after she suffered a seizure on the operating table. reported Abbassian performed approximately 15 chest compressions and then called 911.

DesMarets was unconscious on the exam room floor when paramedics arrived and was put on life support in hospital. She died on December 19.

An autopsy revealed DesMarets died in hospital from the toxic effects of the anesthetic.

In August 2012, a Multnomah County grand jury indicted Abbassian on one count each of second-degree manslaughter and recklessly endangering another.

The reckless endangerment charge is related to a separate procedure.

However, after pleading no-contest, the charges were dismissed. reported Abbassian is expected to be sentenced to three years formal probation and 300 hours of community service on October 14.

A no-contest plea means Abbassian does not admit the prosecutors' allegations, but agrees that there is evidence that could lead a jury or judge to find her guilty.

The former Lake Oswega resident has been stripped of her medical license and fined $10,000 by the Oregon Medical Board for 'her disregard of professional ethics, patient safety and lack of clinical judgment'.

The OMB also stated in its report that Abbassian 'failed to conduct an appropriate and sufficient medical evaluation' on DesMarets before undertaking the after-hours procedure.

DesMarets, a mother of two, was a hospice nurse at Abbassian's clinic, and reportedly often looked after the doctor's children.

Her family said Abbassian was preparing for a tummy tuck, however the exact procedure has not been confirmed because no incisions were made.

In 2010, Abbassian told the OMB that 'she regularly performs dermatological procedures by herself, without office staff present, in her solo practice clinic.'

The Pennsylvania resident also admitted she had called emergency services to her clinic six other times for complications.

The other recklessly endangering charge which was also dismissed yesterday stemmed from a procedure on a different patient between July and September 2010.

The unidentified patient told investigators she experienced dizziness and a rapid heartbeat following the procedure.

Tim Quenelle, an attorney representing DesMarets' son, said a civil settlement was reached in September 2011.

Kathleen Haley, executive director of the state Medical Board, which suspended Abbassian's license in December of 2010, said it's the first time in her 19 years with the agency that a doctor has been criminally charged in a case involving the death of an Oregon patient.

'I think the public can be reassured that it's a very rare occurrence,' Haley said. 'It's extremely unfortunate.'