A new mother has filed a lawsuit against her obstetrician for performing an emergency C-section without anesthesia. Below is an account of what occurred, based on court documents and interviews with the plaintiff.
Last November, Delfina Mota and her fiancé, Paul Iheanachor, went to Tri-City Medical Center for a planned vaginal delivery. Mota was given an epidural for pain – she was informed that it would cause numbness below her waist. The next day, Mota was still in labor. Suddenly, her blood pressure dropped, and the fetal heart tracings (baby’s heart rate) could not be read. The obstetrician, Sandra Lopez, M.D., decided to perform an emergency C-section in order to quickly get the baby out of a potentially dangerous condition – and to prevent possible oxygen deprivation. Dr. Lopez’s staff paged the on-call anesthesiologist, David Seif, M.D., numerous times, but Dr. Seif did not respond. Thus, Dr. Lopez decided to perform the emergency C-section without anesthesia.
As Dr. Lopez made incisions for the C-section, Mota screamed in pain. The pain and burning were so unbearable that she eventually passed out. Mota later told reporters that nurses were holding her down and that she could feel being cut open. She blacked out after she could feel hands “opening” her.
Fortunately, Mota and Iheanachor’s baby girl, Cali, was perfectly healthy at birth and has had no major health problems. However, Mota has sued Tri-City Medical Center, Dr. Lopez and Dr. Seif for medical malpractice, loss of consortium, assault, and battery, seeking more than $5 million in damages. In the lawsuit, it is alleged that Mota was forced to go without appropriate and normal anesthesia during the C-section because the anesthesiologist could not be found and failed to respond to numerous pages from hospital staff. Mota and Iheanachor have stated that they hope the suit prompts the hospital to implement stricter policies so that similar incidents will not occur in the future.
Tri-City Medical Center has released a statement in response to Mota’s allegations. “While we normally don’t comment on pending litigation, the patient’s public discussion of the care she received during her emergency C-section compels us to address this outrageous allegation,” said Aaron Byzak, Tri-City’s Chief Government and External Affairs Officer. “The patient was administered anesthesia prior to surgery.”
A Michigan native who graduated from both Michigan State University and Cooley Law School, Mr. Weidenfeller has limited his practice of law to representing individuals who have been permanently injured and families who have lost a loved one as the result of medical errors for more than 20 years. In that time, he has been featured on the cover of Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly and has spoken to many and varied professional groups about trial practice and effective communication.