OB-GYN With 9 Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Loses License


Obstetrician-gynecologists (OB-GYNs) can expect to face between two and three lawsuits over the course of their career. However, Dr. Berto Lopez, an OB-GYN in Palm Beach has faced nine since 1988. Lopez has recently had his medical license removed, meaning he is no longer able to work as an OB-GYN. But just what type of medical malpractice cases do OB-GYN’s like Dr. Lopez face and why do they keep on happening?

Incorrect procedure

Medical malpractice claims relating to obstetrics and gynecology have the second highest average pay out across all areas of medicine. One common type of medical malpractice claim among OB-GYNs relates to performing the incorrect procedure. Some OB-GYN’s will carry out an emergency cesarean, because they think the baby is in danger or because they get paid more for carrying out such a delivery. Thankfully, Dr. Lopez did not experience any medical malpractice cases like this. However, he was involved in a claim where a second-time mother, Onystei Castillo-Lopez, bled to death. He should have performed a hysterectomy on Ms. Lopez and removed her uterus. Instead, he caused multiple cuts to the mother’s cervix which led to uncontrollable bleeding.

Labor & delivery

Medical negligence which occurs during labor and delivery account for approximately 60% of all claims. Most often, an injury occurs during the baby’s delivery. Common types of birth injuries include spinal cord injuries, fractures, bruising, Bell’s palsy, and Erb’s palsy, among others. When a baby is born with such a condition, the parents will need legal advice to ensure the best course of action is taken. Dr. Lopez has several malpractice cases relating to labor and delivery on his record. Baby Matthew Dixson was born with a broken arm and permanent nerve damage after Dr. Lopez failed to perform a c-section on his at-risk mother.

Failure to diagnose fetal anomalies

Just over 25% of medical malpractice cases are due to the OB-GYN failing to diagnose a fetal anomaly. This often happens when doctors don’t carry out the relevant tests on fetuses and their mothers. In 1994, Dr. Lopez was accused of failing to diagnose a neural tube defect of spina bifida on Samuel Mercedes. To lower the risk of a missed diagnosis of a fetal anomaly, pregnant women should attend all antenatal appointments, declare their full medical history, and voice all concerns as and when they occur.

Medical malpractice in obstetrics shouldn’t happen, but unfortunately they are a regular occurrence. To prevent these OB-GYN’s from practising unsafely, patients must report any concerns they have as soon as possible.