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‘Dr. Death’ Gets Year for His Refusal to Aid Dying Alcoholic

From United Press International

A former paramedic nicknamed “Dr. Death” was sentenced today to one year in County Jail for refusing to treat a dying alcoholic.

“He failed as a paramedic, a fireman and a human being to do his job,” Superior Court Judge J.D. Smith said as he imposed the sentence on Robert Dougherty, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Smith imposed the jail term and a $1,000 fine as conditions of placing Dougherty on three years’ probation.

Dougherty pleaded guilty in July to two misdemeanor counts of gross negligence and a felony count of falsifying a report to make it look as though he had examined dying alcoholic Melvin Wagner.

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Deputy District Attorney Brian Kelberg said Dougherty refused to examine Wagner during two trips to his San Pedro residence on Sept. 23, 1985. Wagner, a cripple, died later that day, apparently of complications stemming from cirrhosis of the liver.


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