The Medical Board of California (“Board”) filed a formal “Accusation” on August 14, 2019 against a California obstetrician, alleging that he was the on-call OB/GYN at a hospital on September 6, 2016 when a 23-year-old patient gave birth to a healthy girl by normal spontaneous vaginal delivery after her membranes spontaneously ruptured about 54 hours earlier.
After delivery, the OB/GYN ordered Pitocin infusion when the patient’s placenta remained in her uterus. The OB/GYN subsequently delivered the placenta by manual extraction. The Board accuses the OB/GYN of attempting to extract the patient’s placenta without observing or documenting the usual signs of placental separation, and managing the patient as if she had a retained placenta, with attempts at manual and instrument removal of the placenta. The Board alleges that the OB/GYN removed the placenta less than 30 minutes after delivery of the baby when there was no indication of, or a recorded reason for, the need for the placenta to be rapidly extracted. The Board alleges that the OB/GYN attempted instrument delivery of the placenta, despite the patient having a contracted cervix, without adequate pain control and without ultrasound guidance. The Board further alleges that the OB/GYN did not perform or document a thorough post extraction examination of the patient’s uterus, cervix, vagina or perineum tissue for injuries.
Within approximately 30 minutes after the OB/GYN removed the patient’s placenta, her vital signs deteriorated and she showed signs of shock. The Board accuses the OB/GYN of failing to take appropriate notice of clinical signs suggestive of ongoing hemorrhaging despite the patient’s tachycardia, hypotension, and changes in her level of consciousness. The Board alleges that the OB/GYN failed to recognize that he inadvertently perforated the patient’s uterus at the time of the instrument delivery of the placenta. The patient was transferred to the ICU, where she died during the early evening. The OB/GYN wrote a progress note after the patient’s transfer to the ICU, stating his presumptive diagnosis of amniotic fluid embolism.
An autopsy revealed extensive laceration of the lower uterine segment and cervix, and concluded that the patient died of postpartum hemorrhage due to traumatic laceration of uterus and cervix during forceps application and manual extraction during labor and removal of the placenta, although trauma caused by childbirth and delivery could not be excluded.
The Board is seeking revocation of the OB/GYN’s California medical license, further citing his prior disciplinary action in 2000 when the revocation of his medical license was stayed and he was placed on three years of probation based on his admission that in delivering obstetrical care to two patients in 1996 and 1997, he committed repeated negligent acts.
If you or your baby suffered a birth injury (or worse) during labor and/or delivery in California or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a birth injury lawyer in California or in your state who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your child in a birth injury medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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