Mom Says Doctors Performed Her Emergency C-Section Without Anesthesia

She’s now suing the hospital.
ByAshley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
August 6, 2018
surgeon's hand selecting tools for operation
Image: iStock

A California couple is suing the hospital that delivered their baby, alleging the doctors performed her c-section surgery without first giving the mom any anesthesia.

Delfina Mota and her partner Paul Iheanachor recounted their version of what happened on November 16 last year in an interview with People. Mota was 41 weeks pregnant when her doctors at Tri-City Medical Center rushed her into the operating room for an emergency C-section. After the doctors were unable to locate an anesthesiologist in time, the couple claims the panicked surgeons decided to move forward with the c-section sans drugs.

“I was crying because I was scared, I didn’t know what was going on,” Mota said in the interview. “I was laying there and (obstetrician Sandra Lopez, MD) was like, ‘We have to just do it.’ That’s when I felt them cut me open. Nurses were holding me down…I could feel her cutting me and, with her hands, opening me. That’s when I passed out.”

Iheanachor wasn’t present in the delivery room at the time, but he knew something had gone wrong after hearing them call for an anesthesiologist several times over the hospital loudspeaker—and then hearing his wife screams.

“I heard the most horrific screams you could ever imagine,” Iheanachor recalled. “Horrific screaming and then silence. That’s when I got really emotional and tried to get into the room. But there was a nurse outside the door and she prevented me from going in. All I kept saying is, ‘I know you guys didn’t cut her without any anesthesia.’”

Mota says when she finally regained consciousness, her daughter Cali had been born, and the anesthesiologist, finally present, told her, “I’m going to make you feel better now.”

“They kept asking what we remember,” Iheanachor said of their interactions with the hospital staff after the birth. “They tried to smooth it over and said, ‘These things happen.’ They gave us a double room so I could stay. They gave us a $25 gift certificate to the gift shop. They said, ‘Sorry for what happened, here’s a gift certificate.’ I feel like it was damage control. We were just in shock.”

Now, eight months later, the couple says Mota is still in pain from the procedure and that the stress of the whole ordeal has strained their relationship and negatively impacted the mother-baby bond.

“I still don’t feel like myself,” Mota told People. “It’s something traumatic. I’m scared now to have another baby. …It really took a toll on me. I have [post-traumatic stress disorder]. I did not feel connected with my daughter. I was really depressed and my stomach took a lot longer to heal. I couldn’t take care of her by myself at first. My best friend had to come over and take care of her for me because I could barely walk.”

The couple is suing the hospital, the obstetrician and the anesthesiologist for medical malpractice, assault and battery, seeking more than $5 million in damages. They said they hope their suit prompts the hospital to put policies in place to prevent similar incidents from happening.

Tri-City Medical Center officials, for their part, denied the couple’s claims in a statement released to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “While we normally don’t comment on pending litigation, the patient’s public discussion of the care she received during her emergency c-section compels us to address this outrageous allegation. The patient was administered anesthesia prior to the surgery. We are pleased that the baby is ‘healthy’ and ‘happy.’”

That uplifting fact, at least, is undisputed. “The baby is perfect,” Iheanachor told the San Diego paper.

Here’s hoping for a full recovery for mom and a speedy resolution for all.

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