A doctor whose botched abortion caused a patient to bleed to death was convicted of murder Tuesday in a rare instance of criminal charges filed over a medical mistake.
A jury took just three hours to convict Dr. David Benjamin in the death of Guadalupe Negron, a 33-year-old mother of four. The jurors rejected lesser charges of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.
Benjamin, who was appealing a license revocation for incompetence at the time of the abortion, sat without emotion as the verdict was returned. His wife and his mother-in-law left in tears.
Benjamin, 58, faces 25 years to life in prison at sentencing Sept. 12. His lawyer said he will appeal.
Nationally, criminal prosecutions of doctors for botched work are extraordinarily rare. Usually, such cases are settled through malpractice lawsuits or disciplinary proceedings.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said he knew of only one other murder conviction: In 1989, Dr. Milos Klvana was convicted of murder in Los Angeles in the stillbirth of one infant and the death of eight newborns.
Prosecutors charged that Benjamin left a 3-inch rip in Mrs. Negron’s uterus and left her to die on an operating table covered in blood and vomit.