It has been reported that 62-year-old Dr. Berto Lopez, 62, who had practiced obstetrics and gynecology in West Palm Beach, Florida for 38 years, had his medical license revoked after he was found liable for the death of Onystei Castillo-Lopeza, who bled to death after giving birth in July 2017. Dr. Lopez reportedly left the hospital in order to change his blood-soaked scrubs while the patient was bleeding heavily but did not return to the hospital, claiming that there were no scrubs available in the hospital. The plaintiff’s Florida medical malpractice lawyer stated, “He claims there’s no more scrubs in the hospital, which is ridiculous and irrelevant, and he leaves the hospital.”
The plaintiff alleged that Dr. Lopez had caused multiple lacerations with a scalpel on the patient’s cervix as the baby was being delivered. Instead of performing a full hysterectomy to stop the bleeding, Dr. Lopez performed a partial hysterectomy. The plaintiff alleged that for nearly four years, Dr. Lopez argued in his defense there “were difficulties during the procedures because of inadequate lighting and a view obstructed by bleeding.”
The State of Florida Department of Health formally alleged: “the standard of care required Respondent to have done one or more of the following for Patient O.C.: a. Take Patient O.C. to the OR for cervical examination, where she could be positioned differently so that the cervix could be more adequately visualized and repaired; b. Timely perform surgical exploration of Patient O.C.’s laceration when she continued to bleed heavily and her condition deteriorated; c. Perform a total hysterectomy instead of a supracervical hysterectomy, given Patient O.C.’s cervical laceration; and/or d. Remain at the hospital while Patient O.C. was still bleeding so that he could respond quickly to a surgical indication, if necessary.”
Unknown to the plaintiff and Dr. Lopez’s other patients at the time, the Florida Department of Health had restricted Dr. Lopez’s privileges after he caused the death of another patient. The State of Florida Board of Medicine stated in its Final Order dated May 9, 2017: “Respondent’s practice is restricted as follows: When performing any surgical procedures, Respondent shall not practice except under the direct supervision of a BOARD CERTIFIED OB/GYN physician fully licensed under Chapter 458. This restriction shall remain in place until such time as Respondent appears before the Board with the Florida CARES evaluation set forth below.” The plaintiff was also unaware that Dr. Lopez had two Florida medical malpractice lawsuits pending against him at the time of the delivery.
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer stated: “The hospital had the order from the Department of Medicine. They knew what he could do and what he had done in the past, and they let him continue to bring patients there. This is a doctor who should not have been practicing before this happened, and the state knew it, and let it go. That’s the lesson that needs to be learned.”
If you or your baby suffered a birth injury (or worse) during labor, delivery, or shortly after birth in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Florida birth injury lawyer, or a birth injury lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your child in a birth injury medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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