The State of Washington Department of Health Medical Quality Assurance Commission (“Commission”) issued an Ex Parte Order of Summary Suspension on July 28, 2015 against an OB/GYN who was licensed to practice medicine in Washington State, in response to the Department of Health Medical Program’s ex parte motion filed by the Office of the Attorney General that sought the summary suspension of the OB/GYN’s Washington credentials.
The Commission found that the OB/GYN performed unnecessary dilation and curettage (“D&C”) surgical procedures, including performing multiple postpartum D&Cs on the same patient following the same delivery, and performed many of his D&Cs in an overly vigorous manner, causing damage to patients’ uteruses.
The Commission further determined that the OB/GYN failed to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to patients who experienced complications requiring emergency treatment, such as blood loss and uterine rupture.
The Commission determined that the OB/GYN performed a very high number of deliveries, that he induced labor more frequently than other OB/GYNs, that he delivered babies with lower Apgar scores, and that more of the babies he delivered required a stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
In one example cited by the Commission, the OB/GYN left a Cesarean section delivery patient after making an incision in order to attend to another patient’s vaginal delivery despite the availability of another OB to attend the vaginal delivery (the patient having the Cesarean section delivery was left for about 15 minutes with an open surgical wound while the OB/GYN went to deliver the patient having the vaginal delivery; the OB/GYN then left the vaginal delivery patient with an unrepaired laceration and without having delivered the placenta so that he could return to the Cesarean section delivery patient). The OB/GYN failed to note in the medical records for the Cesarean section delivery patient that he had left the operating room, thereby leaving the impression in her medical record that the procedure was continuous.
The Commission determined that the evidence presented to it established that the OB/GYN’s continued practice represented an immediate danger to public safety and justified a decision to immediately suspend the OB/GYN’s credentials pending a hearing on the matter.
The Commission’s summary suspension of the Washington State OB/GYN raises serious questions with regard to how many of the OB/GYN’s patients, and the babies he delivered, suffered harm as a result of the OB/GYN’s actions or omissions, and whether those patients would have been better served by another OB.
The allegation that the OB/GYN’s notes/records for the Cesarean section delivery referenced above were false or misleading highlights the serious obstacle faced by medically injured patients throughout the United States: many patients harmed during or as a result of medical procedures may be unaware of how or why they suffered unanticipated injuries or other unexpected outcomes because they were sedated or anesthetized during their procedure, because they have no knowledge of how their procedure was supposed to be performed versus how it was actually performed, and, last but not least, the medical providers who harm their patients by their failure to meet the required standards of care are the sole authors of the medical records and they can state (or fail to state) whatever they want in the medical records, leaving facts out of the record or documenting false or misleading information.
If you may be the victim of medical malpractice in Washington State, you should promptly find a Washington State medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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