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Doctor Placed on Probation Following Deaths of Mothers and Babies During Childbirth

— August 11, 2020

Arthur Park, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Bakersfield, was recently placed on probation following an investigation into the deaths of several mothers and babies during childbirth.

A Bakersfield obstetrician-gynecologist was recently placed on probation following several patient deaths and injuries, but now some are calling for his license to be revoked. Specifically, the doctor, Arthur Park, has been named in “at least 10 lawsuits alleging negligence, medical malpractice, or wrongful death, and he’s been associated with the deaths of at least two mothers and five newborns.”

Mother and child
Mother and child; image courtesy of yalehealth via pixabay,

Park was placed on probation back in late June after the California Medical Board investigated three of the deaths, including “a mother who hemorrhaged shortly after delivering a baby girl, as well as a mother and son who both died after she succumbed to complications due to high blood pressure.” Prior to the board’s decision, Interim Executive Director Christine Lally and Attorney General Xavier Becerra first recommended revoking Park’s license, “but stayed the revocation in favor of probation and a remedial ethics course.”

When commenting on the board’s decision, Linda Rice said, “I think it’s criminal that the medical board hasn’t taken his license away.” Rice is a Los Angeles attorney who brought two malpractice lawsuits against Park in 2008 and 2012. In both those suits, Rice alleged negligence “in both prenatal care and delivery after two babies were born with permanent shoulder injuries and one also suffered developmental disabilities.” She added:

“I just haven’t encountered that many physicians that I felt were incompetent doctors…in Park’s case, I think it goes beyond incompetent.” 

Both of the suits Rice filed were eventually settled out of court.

Michele Monserrat-Ramos, a patient advocate with Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit organization, said she learned about Park via patient complaints. She added that she has “so far encountered six families with grievances about the doctor—two of whom lost loved ones during childbirth.” She said, “The people that I’ve spoken to and the stories that they’ve shared with me have been incredibly tragic.”

As a result of the complaints, Monserrat-Ramos began working on a web campaign to collect signatures urging state legislators to encourage the medical board to revoke Park’s license. She said:

“Through our outreach thus far, 2,500 families in Bakersfield have sent emails to State Senator Shannon Grove and State Senator Melissa Hurtado requesting that they intervene to make the medical board accountable and Dr. Park accountable for the death and long-term harm to women and babies in Bakersfield.”

As part of his probation, Park is no longer allowed to deliver babies or see patients without supervision. Additionally, he is no longer permitted to practice in a hospital setting until 2025. He also has to enroll in a course in medical education and ethics.


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