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NRI doctor Sood charged with manslaughter in Australia, escaped a prison term

SYDNEY, Nov. 01, 2006
Santosh Kumari

NRI doctor, Suman Sood, 57, was today given a two year good behaviour bond and escaped a prison term after she was found guilty of performing unlawful abortions. Carolyn Simpson, Supreme Court Justice, today held that a custodial sentence would be inappropriate. Justice Simpson ruled the banned doctor's behaviour, which the Crown had argued had shown disregard to the patient for her own convenience, could not be taken into account in sentencing because it occured after the crime.

Suman also found there was little evidence of emotional injury to the patient, because any injury she might have suffered would have been due to the circumstances of the birth of the baby or its death in utero. She became the first person in New South Wales (NSW) in more than 25 years to be found guilty of performing unlawful abortions.

Earlier this month a NSW medical tribunal banned Sood from practicing for 10 years. Sood should not receive a igher sentence to deter other doctors, Justice Simpson said because her conviction and the publicity of the case should be enough to discourage them.

Suman said, "I will be making an appeal."

NRI doctor Suman Sood charged with manslaughter in Australia

SYDNEY, Nov. 25, 2005
Santosh Kumari

NRI, (non-resident Indian) Dr. Suman Sood, 56 has been charged with manslaughter because she allegedly failed to follow the procedures which make abortion legal in NSW. Dr Suman Sood allegedly gave a 20-year-old woman an abortion drug who was about 23 weeks pregnant in May 2002, then asked her to come back the next day. But she didn't make it, delivering the baby boy into a toilet. He survived for about four hours.

Dr. Sood's lawyer had argued that the young woman's evidence was unreliable because she could not remember all details of the consultation with Sood.

Tony Marsden, Liverpool local court magistrate found yesterday that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a "straightforward and uncomplicated young woman" who showed no ill will or bias to the doctor and never denied she had wanted the abortion. He found there was a reasonable prospect of a conviction and committed Sood to trial.

Doctor says she didn't perform abortion

By Geesche Jacobsen
August 13, 2005

The doctor at the centre of the first NSW abortion court case in more than 30 years says she did not agree to perform the abortion that has seen her charged with manslaughter.

Dr Suman Sood, the owner of the Fairfield abortion clinic Australian Women's Health, said in a document tendered in Liverpool Local Court that she had instead referred the woman to Brisbane for the late abortion, saying it could not be legally performed in NSW.

Sood has been facing a committal hearing on charges of manslaughter because she allegedly failed to follow the procedures which make abortion legal in NSW.

It is alleged she gave the woman a tablet and sent her home, where she gave birth about 12 hours later, 22 weeks into her pregnancy.

The statement is contained in an affidavit by Sood, prepared weeks after the incident in 2002 .

In it, Sood said she had advised the woman on Saturday, May 18, to consider whether she wanted an abortion, and if so, to return on Tuesday to get a referral to a Brisbane clinic.

In Queensland, abortions are illegal only after 24 weeks.

Sood said in the statement the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, came to the surgery on Monday - when it was closed - complaining of abdominal pain. Sood said she happened to be there to fetch something, and examined the woman.

"I concluded that the patient was not in labour but could be having Braxton Hicks [false] contractions. I recommended that the patient take paracetamol and also gave her two Tri-Profen [pain relief] tablets," the affidavit says.

"At no time did I agree to perform a TOP [termination of pregnancy] for this patient or did I give her any medication which would have that effect. I did not administer anything in the patient's vagina. I did not ask for or receive any money."

The woman this week told the court she had come to the surgery by appointment and was given one tablet vaginally and two orally to "soften up the baby" for the procedure the following day. She said Sood had asked for a $500 payment, but she had only $400 and was not given a receipt.

By the time of her next scheduled appointment she had given birth and been taken to hospital.

There, the woman said, she received a call from Sood, who was checking whether she was keeping her appointment.

When she told Sood she had delivered the baby, she said the doctor reminded her that she still owed $100 from the previous day. The woman said she was told the total cost of the abortion would be $1500.

A nurse at the clinic, Minna Zoretic, told police in a statement tendered in court that she had counselled the woman and had asked her about her circumstances and her reasons for seeking an abortion.

Abortion is legal in NSW if a doctor considers the dangers to the woman's physical and mental health, and her economic and social circumstances, before agreeing to the woman's request to perform the procedure, and weighs up the risks.

In another statement tendered, Joan Chodat, another staff member at the clinic, said Sood gave her some tablets to give to the woman on Monday because the doctor had to leave. She said she did not know what the tablets were.



Suman Sood, doctor Sood charged with manslaughter in Australia, escaped a prison term