Public Safety


The family of a woman who was eight months pregnant and died shortly after being sent home from the hospital with high blood pressure in April is suing Mercy Hospital Southwest and two doctors who were in charge of her care.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed on Aug. 13, alleges Dr. Hans C. Yu and Dr. Arthur Park, both obstetrician-gynecologists at Mercy Hospital Southwest at the time, "breached their duty" to keep Demi Ruben Dominguez and her unborn son, Malakhi Ruben DeLeon, alive, according to a lawsuit filed in Kern County Superior Court. 

Dominguez's mother, Tracy Dominguez, and the father of her son, Ruben Xavier DeLeon, say they have suffered as a result of the deaths of Dominguez and Malakhi. They claim both Park and Yu "negligently and carelessly care for, treated and rendered medical services" to Dominguez, leading to her death and the death of her unborn son, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, on April 15, Dominguez went to Mercy Hospital Southwest with swelling and elevated blood pressure. She was released the next day with instructions to take labetalol — a prescription drug used to treat high blood pressure — three times each day. Park instructed her to monitor her blood pressure at home as well and to follow up with Yu on April 17, the lawsuit states.

When Dominguez visited Yu, she repeatedly measured as having high blood pressure. 

On April 19, Dominguez was brought back to Mercy Hospital Southwest after she was found unresponsive and suffering seizures at home. She and her unborn son died shortly thereafter, the lawsuit said. 

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family for their loss," Mercy Hospital Southwest said in a statement. "Safety and patient care are our highest priorities, and we take matters involving the quality of care very seriously."

The hospital declined comment on the specifics of the patient's care due to patient privacy laws and hospital policy. 

Both Yu and Park did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In California, the maternal death rate is about seven deaths per 100,000 live births. That total is lower than the climbing national average of 22 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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