A South Florida doctor with a history of disciplinary problems has been stripped of his medical license after being accused of having a new mother bleed to death after a difficult delivery while going home to change his blood-soaked scrubs and to bed to go.
Dr. Berto Lopez, 62, has practiced obstetrics and gynecology in West Palm Beach for 38 years. His medical career, marred by the deaths of two new mothers and a failed termination of pregnancy, came to an end earlier this month when his license was revoked by the state.
Administrative hearing judge Robert Cohen wrote in his opinion earlier this year that Lopez made multiple mistakes on the day Onystei Castillo Lopez died in 2017, the most serious of which left his patient in critical condition at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach.
Dr. Berto Lopez, 62 (left), lost his medical license during the death of his patient Onystei Castillo Lopez in 2017 (right)
Castillo Lopez, pictured pregnant with his husband and daughter, died of cardiac arrest just hours after welcoming a baby boy
Lopez claimed that his scrubs were soaked in his patient’s blood and that he had no clean clothes in the hospital, so he went home and left a badly bleeding Castillo Lopez in the care of a nurse, an anesthetist and an ICU. doctor who was available alone. via telemedicine, reported Miami Herald.
The married mother of two, 40, who had given birth to her long-awaited second child, a son, just hours earlier, suffered cardiac arrest and died while Lopez was at home.
Cohen concluded that Lopez’s decision to leave the hospital to go home, clean up, and go to sleep “ caused his failure to complete his care for his patient, ultimately leading to her untimely death. ” .
The judge added that if Lopez had returned to the hospital after being changed to a new set of scrubs, he might have been able to save his patient.
“Maybe his patient still hadn’t survived, but we’ll never know because [Lopez] left her to go home, ‘Cohen wrote.
The judge only recommended a one-year suspension of the license and a ban on performing surgery or delivering babies, which Lopez had already voluntarily agreed to, but the Florida Board of Medicine went beyond Cohen’s recommendation and denied Lopez his license.
Castillo Lopez gave birth to her second child on January 25, 2017, but tears filled her cervix. Dr. Lopez would later claim he couldn’t see the cervix properly due to the bleeding and poor lighting in the birthing room
Lopez’s attorney said she plans to appeal the decision, arguing that the patient died as a result of a clotting problem that she claimed ICU doctors were unable to diagnose after her client left for the night , reported The Palm Beach Post.
Castillo-Lopez went to Good Samaritan Medical Center on July 25, 2017 for a scheduled inducement and just after 8am gave birth to a baby boy, Jorge Jason.
During the delivery the mother got tears in her cervix, which needed to be repaired. Lopez would later claim that he couldn’t see the cervix clearly because of the bleeding and a lighting problem.
Lopez, who has been practicing medicine for 38 years, performed a partial hysterectomy, but the patient continued to bleed
Lopez did not transfer the patient from the delivery room to an operating room, where different positioning and lighting may have made a difference, according to expert testimonials.
An administrative complaint alleged that Lopez made his second mistake of the day when, after finally taking an unresponsive Castillo-Lopez to an operating room, he performed a partial hysterectomy rather than a total hysterectomy, which is the more appropriate course of action would have been. given the patient’s condition.
After surgery, blood was seen from the incision in Castillo-Lopez’s abdomen. Rather than reopening the incision, Lopez ordered a nurse to apply pressure bandages to stop the bleeding and freeze the incision, the complaint said.
Lopez left the hospital at 11:39 PM to go home. He testified at a disciplinary hearing that the leg of his scrubs, sock, and shoe were drenched in blood and that he could not find clean scrubs in the hospital.
Castillo-Lopez died at 3 a.m. the next morning, leaving behind her husband, their newborn son, and seven-year-old daughter.
When asked if he felt responsible for OC’s death at all, Dr. Lopez blamed the IC staff and the hospital system, ”Judge Cohen wrote.
While Lopez went home to change his blood-soaked scrubs and go to sleep, Castillo Lopez (right) bled out and died
At the time of Castillo-Lopez’s death, Lopez had a settlement agreement with state health officials not to perform unsupervised surgeries, following the death in April 2014 of another patient who bled after a Caesarean section.
His record also includes a previous settlement agreement from 2004 involving a pregnant woman whose baby died in utero, who went to Lopez to have him remove the fetus.
According to a complaint in that case, Lopez failed to remove all of the contents of the uterus, and a month later the patient delivered the remains of her unborn baby, a girl, to the bathroom.
Lopez did not admit wrongdoing, but instead paid a fine and agreed to do community work and take classes in medical record keeping.
Castillo-Lopez’s widow filed a civil lawsuit against Lopez and reached a settlement with him in 2019, but had to go back to court when the doctor did not make monthly payments.