A former anesthesiologist pleaded guilty to the negligent homicide of a fellow doctor who was operated on in Beverly Hills on Friday – and admitted to injecting himself with Demerol, which was stolen from the operation center, before the operation, and then left the operating room to look after himself inject extra medication during the operation.
H. Clayjacket, Superior Court Justice, ordered Stephen Kyo-Sung Kim, now 57, to be taken into custody immediately following his pleading relating to the death of 71-year-old orthopedic surgeon Mark Greenspan on September 26, 2017.
Kim – who was originally charged with murder – is due to return for conviction in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom in December 2023. He will then likely be sentenced to the two years he will have already spent behind bars.
When questioned by Assistant District Attorney Beth Silverman, the defendant admitted that for two to three years he had used narcotics stolen from various surgical centers before and during the operations; that he injected himself with 50 milligrams of Demerol, which he stole from the operations center after arriving at the facility; and that he did not recall a discussion that morning that the operation would be performed under local anesthesia with intravenous sedation rather than general anesthesia, as was the custom.
Kim also admitted that during the operation he had left the operating room to inject 50 milligrams of Demerol and 60 milligrams of Toradol and that he fell and hit his head when he returned to the operating room, but said he was fine go and he can go on.
The anesthesiologist – who agreed to give up his license to practice medicine and never work in a medical field – also admitted that he tried unsuccessfully to intubate Greenspan several times after his heart rate dropped shortly after giving the patient about two drugs 30 minutes after the operation; that he mistakenly inserted a breathing tube into the patient and had to be physically pulled away from Greenspan’s IV by a paramedic after re-entering the room with a syringe and beginning to feed the contents, which he referred to as Demerol, into the IV line of the Inject patient.
Blood and urine samples collected by Kim showed that he had significant amounts of Demerol and traces of fentanyl in his system, he admitted and agreed that he had taken Demerol about 150 times before or during other medical procedures.
“The fact that my father was killed while lying unconscious and unable to defend himself is a reality I will never escape,” Greenspan’s son Ivan said during the hearing.
“The tragic impotence that my father was chemically paralyzed by a high-ranking ex-anesthetist is still difficult to accept. This killer strategically positioned himself to take advantage of unconscious patients to steal drugs and kill him in the case of my father. That heartless killer got high while he let my father die. ”
The victim’s son told Kim that he hopes “emotional pain will be a constant companion and that guilt, shame and fear will stay with you forever.”
In court, the victim’s sister, Linda Resnick, said she “really lost my best friend”.
“You are going to have an operation and you trust you are fine,” she told the City News Service.
She said that it felt like my guts were being ripped out of my body when she listened to the facts of Kim’s confession of guilt.
“What did my brother suffer? … It wasn’t a peaceful death, “she said.
One of the victim’s nieces, Dawn Rawdon, said she was not satisfied with the promised sentence and wished Kim had spent more time behind bars.
“It’s nothing for me,” she said.
Kim was first charged with the murder involving the death of Greenspan in December 2017 and was subsequently charged with the same charge in August 2018.
Paramedics and police were called to the Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery Center in Beverly Hills in connection with a call that Greenspan had stopped breathing while recovering. Shortly after the criminal case against Kim was opened, Beverly Hills police said the investigation revealed that Kim gave Greenspan a fatal dose of Demerol.
Greenspan suffered cardiac arrest and died shortly afterwards, prosecutors said.
The case was the result of a three-month investigation by the Beverly Hills Police Department, with assistance from the California Medical Board and the prosecutor’s office.
Kim was ordered in December 2017 not to practice a doctor during the pending trial.
“This should be a wake-up call for the medical community,” the prosecutor told the court, saying doctors who violate their oath not to cause harm will be held accountable.
One of Kim’s attorneys, Robert A. Schwartz, said after the conviction it was “a tragedy across the board for everyone,” including Greenspan and his family and Kim and his family.
“It was just a perfect storm of terrible things that happened at the same time,” said the defender.
Schwartz said a report by a renowned cardiologist “completely changed the dynamics of the case,” with the expert concluding that Greenspan had an enlarged heart that caused a disease that was possibly the cause of death, regardless of the drugs used Kim. administered to him.
Kim’s attorney said he believed the injunction was “the correct outcome in the circumstances.”
“DR. Kim feels terrible remorse for what he has done and has told us this repeatedly. He will bear this on his conscience for the rest of his life,” said the defense attorney.