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Doctor Who Killed With Botched Abortion Gets 25 to Life

September 12, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ A doctor who botched an abortion, causing a woman to bleed to death, was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison for murder.

Dr. David Benjamin, 58, was found guilty Aug. 8 in an extraordinary rare instance of criminal charges filed over a medical mistake.

``This was not a political case or malpractice,″ Judge Robert J. Hanophy said in imposing the maximum. ``It was depraved, indifferent murder.″

The conviction was the first of its kind in New York state, and authorities could cite only one other U.S. case in which a doctor was convicted of murder for botched work. Ordinarily, such cases are handled through malpractice suits or disciplinary hearings.

The jury rejected lesser charges of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide before convicting Benjamin in the 1993 death of Guadalupe Negron. The 33-year-old mother of four bled to death from a 3-inch rip in her uterus.

The defense claimed she caused the tear by sitting up during the abortion. Defense attorney Brad Leventhal said Benjamin did everything he could to save Mrs. Negron.

Benjamin testified he thought Mrs. Negron was about 13 weeks pregnant and didn’t realize until midway through the abortion that she was 20 weeks along.

His receptionist testified that was a lie, and said he ignored the woman for more than an hour after the abortion.

The state said he also lied to paramedics who arrived to help Mrs. Negron. The district attorney said the cover-up was one reason for pressing charges.

One month before Mrs. Negron’s death, the state had revoked Benjamin’s license for gross incompetence and negligence for abortions performed on five women in 1990. In three cases, the women suffered a ripped uterus.

Benjamin was allowed to continue practicing while appealing the revocation.

He is appealing the murder conviction.

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