A woman and her fiancé are suing a California hospital after she was strapped down and given an emergency cesarean section without anesthesia, according to a lawsuit filed in San Diego County.
Delphina Mota, 26, was “crying and screaming at the top of her lungs, that she could feel everything that was happening, and was also pleading for help,” states the complaint, which was filed last month.
“I have never encountered such a case in 35 years of practice,” the couple’s lawyer, Norman Finkelstein, told HuffPost via email.
The lawsuit accuses doctors at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside of medical malpractice, as well as assault and battery. The hospital said in a statement sent to the San Diego Union-Tribune that it could not comment on the specifics of the case.
“Patient safety and quality are the utmost priorities for Tri-City Medical Center and all of our partners,” the statement said. “Tri-City Healthcare District cannot comment further on pending litigation.”
Mota went to Tri-City Medical Center on Nov. 15, when she was more than 41 weeks pregnant. She was admitted to have her labor induced and also received an epidural.
At 5:21 the following morning, Mota’s blood pressure dropped and her obstetrician, Dr. Sandra Lopez, couldn’t find the baby’s heart rate.
According to the suit, Lopez “appropriately called for an emergency C-section,” but could not reach the anesthesiologist on call, Dr. David Seif, although he was “paged multiple times.”
Mota told the Union-Tribune that when she was in the operating room, she remembers the doctor saying “page him, keep paging him.”
According to the suit, Lopez ordered staff to “strap her down.”
Then, as Mota told the newspaper, “all of the sudden I felt cutting on my stomach … a burning sensation.”
Mota’s fiancé and the father of the child, 35-year-old Paul Iheanachor, was in the hallway outside the operating room during the incident and told New York news channel NBC 7 how he remembers her horrifying screams.
“If somebody put a knife in your stomach and cut you open, and had their hands on your insides, and ripped your baby out, you know. I just tried to put myself in her shoes,” he said. “Just tried to wrap my mind around how it would feel to basically be gutted like a fish.”
The infant was born that day, a daughter they named Cali.
The couple told the Los Angeles Times that Cali is is now 7 months old and is doing well.
“The baby is perfect,” Iheanachor told the paper.