BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — June 10, 2019, was a date the Dominguez and De Leon family eagerly anticipated for months. Demi was turning 24, and what better way to celebrate than by giving birth to her little boy Malakhi? Except she had preeclampsia, which went undetected, causing her death.
It’s important to note both doctors mentioned in this story were contacted and they refused to comment. 17 News reached out to both Dr. Arthur M. Park and Dr. Hans Yu, they refused to comment.
“I remember just seeing her shaking viciously and trying to breathe really and I just remember her jaw was just locked and she started turning blue and I remember telling Tracy she’s turning blue, and being on the phone and telling her like come on wake up, wakeup, get out of it,” said Demi Dominguez’s fiancé, Xavier De Leon.
In the early hours of April 19th, De Leon woke up to his pregnant fiance Demi seizing in bed.
“And you know she took like one breath and she kind of relaxed and I was like okay she’s done she’s going to kind of come back,” said De Leon.
Demi didn’t come back.
“And in my heart, in my heart, since I knew she wasn’t there my next concern was getting that baby out because obviously if there is no oxygen going to that baby then he doesn’t have a chance,” De Leon said.
Later, Malakhi was delivered by C-section. De Leon held both his fiancé and his son in his arms as they took their last breaths hours apart. As soon as the family began to receive Demi’s medical files, they began to question the care or lack thereof, that she received by Dr. Arthur M. Park, Dr. Hans Yu, and, Mercy Hospital Southwest. When Demi was seen by Dr. Park at the hospital, Demi’s mom Tracy Dominguez says he shamed her. Park was on call that day.
“He said, well what did you eat today and she said I had some Mexican food, and he told her well that’s your problem you are swollen because you had Mexican food, and if you ate pizza you would have gotten even bigger. So at that point, she was embarrassed and we both were horrified,” Dominguez said.
Park referred Demi to Dr. Yu for follow-up care after discharging her the next morning. The family says Yu seemed to rush through her appointment and ignored her symptoms of blurred vision and difficulty breathing. The family is filing a lawsuit accusing the hospital, Park, and Yu of negligence in not spotting the preeclampsia, ultimately leading to her and Malakhi’s deaths. But the family says The Medical Board tried to get them to file the case together with Demi’s, saying Malakhi was not his own person.
“He was a beautiful baby boy, and they call him a fetus, they call him like as if he was nothing, and he’s a boy, and his name is Malakhi and he needs to be recognized because his life mattered, it mattered very much,” said De Leon’s Mother, Monique Himes.
On Wednesday Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with the Medical Board of California filed an accusation against Park, accusing him of negligence in their deaths. This is not the first time he’s been in trouble. Park is currently on probation with the medical board and has been on probation before.
“How many mothers and babies have to die before the medical board will pull somebody’s license? How many families have to suffer loss because of medical negligence?” Himes said.
The family says they are going to continue fighting for change in honor of Demi and Malakhi, and they have this final message:
“To Dr. Park, how can you live with yourself knowing you are doing the same thing over and over and harming babies and mothers?” Himes said.
Himes feels the pattern of behavior is careless and called upon the community to stand together against this type of behavior from trusted members of the community.
The family’s fight continues next Friday, March 19, 2021, they will be sitting in on the Sunset Review Oversight Hearing for the Medical Board. The legislature will be reviewing the board to decide if they are doing their job.
Tracy Dominguez said “I have seen my daughter and grandson victimized by the regulatory board system. I cannot stand by and not try to make a change to help other families.
That is why I will be speaking to the legislature for the Sunset Review Hearing for the Medical Board of California next Friday. I will make sure that the families of Kern County’s voice will be heard.”
Tracy Dominguez said “I have seen my daughter and grandson victimized by the regulatory board system. I cannot stand by and not try to make a change to help other families. That is why I will be speaking to the legislature for the Sunset Review Hearing for the Medical Board of California next Friday. I will make sure that the families of Kern County’s voice will be heard.”
The hearing is open to the public, and the family plans to bring up changing the Medical Injury Compensation Act of 1975.