The family of a 23-year-old pregnant woman who died after signs of dangerously high blood pressure were ignored is suing the two OBGYNs who treated her.
Demi Dominguez, of Bakersfield, California, went to Mercy Hospital on April 15 with swelling and high blood pressure, reported 23ABC.
She was kept overnight for observation but was sent home the next day with medication.
Dominguez returned for a follow-up appointment the following day, but was again sent home.
On April 19, Dominguez began seizing and collapsed at home. She was rushed to the hospital, where she died. Her baby son was delivered, but died a few hours later.
Her family is now accusing Dr Arthur Park and Dr Hans Yu of failing to properly diagnose and treat Dominguez and not recognizing the seriousness of her condition.
Dr Park is also currently facing an accusation of negligence from the Medical Board of California in the death of another pregnant woman in September 2016.
Demi Dominguez, 23 (left and right, with her fiancé), from Bakersfield, California, who was pregnant, visited Mercy Hospital on April 15 with swelling and high blood pressure. She was given medication by Dr Arthur Park and told to keep track of her blood pressure at home
Dominguez went to Mercy Hospital for a follow-up appointment with Dr Hans Yu, who measured her blood pressure and then sent her home. Pictured: Dominguez graduating from Bakersfield College in 2017
According to the lawsuit, ‘it is unclear from the medical records exactly how Dr Park and/or Mercy treated [Dominguez], but she was released on April 16, 2019 with instructions to take labetalol three times day and to monitor her blood pressure at home.’
Labetalol is a drug that treats high blood pressure by blocking certain chemicals within the body to help lower heart rate.
The lawsuit states that she was told to follow up with Dr Yu the next day, on April 17.
During that visit, Dr Yu measured her blood pressure twice, with readings of 133/98 and 145/100 – both very high, especially for a pregnant woman, reported KGET.
According to the American Heart Association, a normal reading is 120/80 or lower.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is known as a ‘silent killer’ because most Americans with the condition do not know they have it.
One in every 12 to 17 pregnant women between ages 20 to 44 will develop high blood pressure.
If left untreated, blood-clotting problems, fluid to build up in the lungs, seizures and maternal and infant death.
It’s unclear whether Dr Yu did a physical exam or tested Dominguez’s urine for signs of anything serious.
Dr Yu took notes that stated Dominguez ‘was started on labetalol and was given precautions for severe features’ – although it is unclear what these features are.
On April 19, Dominguez (pictured, right) was found unresponsive and seizing at home and was rushed to the hospital
Dominguez died hours after giving birth to a son, who died later that same day. Her family is suing Dr Park (left) and Dr Yu (right) and says they ‘negligently and carelessly cared for, treated and rendered medical services’
Later that week, Dominguez was rushed to Mercy Hospital after her family found her seizing and unresponsive, reported 23ABC.
She died after her unborn son, Malakhi, was delivered. he died later that day.
Dominguez was set to graduate from California State University, Bakersfield with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in May. Her family says she wanted to be a behavioral therapist for children with special needs.
Her mother accepted the posthumous degree on her behalf during the university’s graduation ceremony, according to 23ABC.
Dr Park is currently facing an allegation of negligence from the Medical Board of California for his role in the death of a patient in 2016. Pictured: Dominguez graduating from Bakersfield College in 2017
According to the lawsuit, Dr Park and Dr Yu ‘negligently and carelessly cared for, treated and rendered medical services’ on Dominguez and her unborn baby.
Dignity Health, the healthcare company that operates Mercy Hospital, released a statement to 23ABC that reads: ‘Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family for their loss. Safety and patient care are our highest priorities, and we take matters involving the quality of care very seriously.
‘Consistent with patient privacy laws and hospital policy, we do not discuss the specifics of any patient’s care or the subject of ongoing litigation.’
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover medical expenses. As of Monday morning, more than $8,700 has been raised out of an initial $8,000 goal.
Dr Park is also facing an accusation of negligence by the Medical Board of California in the death of another patient.
Documents viewed by 23ABC show that Dr Park was on call at Adventist Health Hospital in September 2016.
After helping a 23-year-old woman give birth, he tried to remove her placenta but ‘inadvertently perforated the uterus’.
Despite showing signs of hemorrhaging, Dr Park failed to diagnose her or called the rapid response team.
The woman eventually went into cardiac arrest twice and died in the intensive care unit, six hours after giving birth, reported 23ABC.