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Mercy Hospital, Doctors Face Wrongful Death Suit After Death of Mother and Unborn Child

— August 26, 2019

Mercy Health Hospital and two of its OB-GYNs recently came under fire in a lawsuit alleging the wrongful death of a mother and her unborn child.

When many couples find out they are expecting a child, it’s a joyous occasion filled with excitement and planning. The last thing on many pregnant women’s minds is that something terribly wrong may happen. Unfortunately, maternal complications happen, and sometimes they prove fatal. Sometimes they even result in lawsuits against doctors or hospitals. For example, a lawsuit was recently filed against two OB-GYNs and Mercy Hospital of Bakersfield over allegations that they were responsible for the untimely death of Demi Dominguez, 23. According to the suit, she was pregnant with a son at the time of her death and was due to graduate from CSUB in May.

Image of a Pregnant Woman
Pregnant Woman; image courtesy of Xavier Mouton Photographie via Unsplash,

What happened, though? Why are the doctors named as defendants? What led to Dominguez’s death? For starters, Dominguez’s mother, one of the plaintiff’s in the suit, alleges Dr. Arthur M. Park “was Demi’s physician on April 15 when he reportedly treated her for swelling and high blood pressure at Mercy Hospital.” According to the wrongful death lawsuit, while it is “unclear from the medical records exactly how Dr. Park and/or Mercy treated Decedent 1, she was released on April 16, 2019, with instructions to take labetalol three times a day and to monitor her blood pressure at home…She was instructed to follow up with Dr. Yu on April 17, 2019.”

For those who don’t know, labetalol is a prescription drug that helps treat high blood pressure.

On April 17, Dominguez met with Dr. Yu for a follow-up appointment. According to the doctor’s notes from that visit, “Dominguez was started on labetalol and was given precautions for severe features.” Unfortunately, two days later she was rushed to Mercy Hospital after she was “found unresponsive and seizing,” according to the suit. Soon after, her unborn son died in the womb as well.

As a result, the lawsuit accuses Dr. Yu and Dr. Park of “negligently and carelessly caring for, treating and rendering medical services on Dominguez and her baby causing them to suffer fatal injuries.

In response to the allegations, Dignity Health, the entity that operates Mercy Health, issued the following statement:

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.”


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