Each year, hundreds of mothers die in childbirth in the U.S., despite the top-tier healthcare available in the country. In 2016, a 23-year-old mom in California bled to death after giving birth to her third child when the doctor forcibly removed her placenta. Now, three years later, the California Medical Board is accusing the patient’s OB-GYN of negligence and is looking to have the doctor’s license revoked.
In September 2016, the 23-year-old went into labor and delivered a healthy baby with the help of Dr. Arthur Park. According to the state’s medical board’s lawsuit, the doctor delivered the baby safely, but then forcibly removed the patient’s placenta, ultimately leading to her death.
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A patient’s placenta is typically removed around 30 minutes after the patient gives birth. In this case, the doctor allegedly used clamps and his hands to remove it immediately after she gave birth.
The lawsuit further details the painful afterbirth. “The nursing staff documented that during the placental extraction, the patient was screaming in pain and moving around in bed, and in his note, [Park] described her as ‘agitated,’ and did not consider or record consideration summoning the anesthesiologist to add medication to the patient’s epidural infusion prior to attempting to extract the placenta,” the medical board wrote.
It further claims that the doctor mistakenly hit her uterus, causing her blood pressure to drop to dangerous levels. Nurses were on hand to help revive her, but claim the doctor remain unconcerned, even as the patient was clearly in distress.
The doctor did not perform any interventions such as blood transfusions. In the end, the mother suffered two heart attacks and died six hours after giving birth. According to the lawsuit, the doctor was on probation for three years after two “traumatic” deliveries in the late 90s. He is not, however, currently facing any criminal charges.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.