Bakersfield doctor subject to third gross negligence investigation waives medical license

Since 1999, the Medical Board of California has opened three inquiries against Bakersfield obstetrician / gynecologist, Dr. Arthur Park, all involving charges of gross negligence following the death of mothers and / or their babies during childbirth. Twice, in 2000 and 2020, the council recommended that he lose his license but then put the decision on hold, allowing him to continue to practice under probation and requiring that he complete remedial training.

Earlier this year, however, the state filed a third charge against Park, following the Highly publicized death in 2019 of Demi Dominguez, 23, and her newborn baby. Dominguez died from a serious pregnancy complication, preeclampsia after Park and another doctor in her practice, Dr. Hans Yu, failed to properly treat her high blood pressure during two medical appointments during the week preceding his death. Her son Malakhi, who had an emergency cesarean delivery as doctors tried to resuscitate her, died just hours after her birth.

The medical board in its March 2021 charge wrote that although Park claimed to have assessed Dominguez three times during a short stay at Mercy Southwest Hospital four days before his death, there was no documentation in his medical record that he had never evaluated it directly before prescribing it. with blood pressure medication and discharge from the hospital. According to the council’s charge, Park was “gross negligence in his care and treatmentDe Dominguez and that both his inability to properly assess him and his inability to diagnose him with preeclampsia were “an extreme departure from the applicable standard of care.”

Earlier this month, before the medical commission and the attorney general’s office can complete their investigation, Park agreed to surrender his medical license.

“I am delighted that mothers in Bakersfield are a little safer with Dr Park who no longer practices,” said Michele Monserratt-Ramos, patient advocate with the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog. “How many lives will be saved and how many mothers and babies will be avoided because this particular doctor will no longer be able to exercise?” In the end, it’s incredibly significant.

However, Monserratt-Ramos is disappointed that Park no longer has to appear before a judge. He was scheduled to testify on the Dominguez case at an administrative hearing in early January, but since the purpose of the hearing was to determine whether Park should retain his license, it was revoked once he agreed to d ‘stop practicing.

Demi Dominguez’s mother, Tracy Dominguez, was initially subpoenaed to speak at the hearing. She believes the medical board should have revoked his license a long time ago, but also laments that she does not have the opportunity to speak to him in person. “I’m still angry,” she said. “I’m angry because my daughter’s life is gone, and Malakhi’s, and she deserved a life. I am angry with the two doctors. Everyone’s been missing her all week. It was just one mess after another.

In the years since her daughter’s death, Tracy Dominguez and Monseratt-Ramos publicly advocated for greater accountability of doctors and the medical board, and in 2020, launched a campaign to send thousands of letters to local lawmakers. urging them to do the same. The effort ultimately motivated State Senator Melissa Hurtado and Assembly Member Vince Fong to speak out about Dominguez’s case during a legislative hearing on the medical commission in April this year.

Now Tracy Dominguez plans to start a foundation and scholarship on behalf of her daughter, and is suing Park, Yu and Mercy Hospital Southwest to seek justice for the deaths of her daughter and grandson. . “He’s not going to get rid of me, the medical board is not going to get rid of me, I will tell his story until I die,” she said.

Between the three medical commission inquiries and nine other lawsuits for malpractice, negligence or wrongful death, public records show Dominguez and his son were among at least five babies and two mothers who died while in custody. from Park. Many others claim that their children were permanently injured during childbirth.

Park has agreed to surrender his license effective December 30 and will be able to reapply in two years. A representative for his medical practice on Brimhall Road said the doctor had retired and made no further comment.

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