When a Mother Died After Childbirth, We Stepped Up to Help Her Family Fight for Justice
In a huge decision on Friday, February 5, 2021, the Florida Board of Medicine revoked the license of an obstetrician found liable for the death of a mother of 2. Onystei Castillo-Lopez bled to death after obstetrician Dr. Berto Lopez failed negligently in response to the cervical tears she had suffered during the childbirth. The doctor then left the hospital while Castillo-Lopez was still bleeding, failing to prevent the hemorrhage that led to her death.
Though Dr. Lopez was full of excuses for his malpractice, the fact remains that he did not perform a complete hysterectomy, which is standard practice for women in Castillo-Lopez’ condition. He first attempted to repair her cervix while in the hospital suite rather than an operating room; after finally moving her, he downplayed the severity of her condition to nurses. He performed the wrong surgery to stop the bleeding and did not get products to patient as needed.
In response to Castillo-Lopez’ death, Dr. Lopez voluntarily stopped delivering babies and performing operations. For the sake of patient safety, we were relieved by the news of his license revocation.
“He Can Do No Further Harm”
The Castillo-Lopez family’s case was not the first filed against Dr. Lopez. He had faced 2 prior malpractice cases and was under restrictions from the state Health Department at the time of the incident. Previously, he had failed a patient by triggering a deadly arterial bleed during a C-section and tubal ligation. Dr. Lopez agreed he would not perform any surgeries without supervision as part of his settlement in that case.
Sadly, 3 months later, this requirement did not save Castillo-Lopez. While Dr. Lopez attempted to salvage his reputation by deciding to stop conducting certain procedures after her death, he also fought the complaint and tried to shift blame in his defense. These actions do not reflect the conscience of a man who is aware of his mistake and trying to atone; for this reason, the Board of Health revoked Dr. Lopez’s license to practice medicine in Florida.
Dr. Lopez has already settled with the family, though we had to return to court when he stopped making the monthly payments that were due.
About Attorney Gary Cohen and Our Medical Malpractice Team
Attorney Gary M. Cohen, one of our name partners, took the lead on the Lopez-Castillo’s case, working tirelessly to help the family find justice. He has been practicing law for over 40 years with a focus on medical malpractice cases and in that time has helped thousands of clients successfully resolve their claims against the negligent care providers or systems that hurt them.
His excellence in his field has earned him recognition from the American Board of Trial Advocates, the American Association for Justice, and other prestigious organizations for lawyers and judges. He is sought after for speaking engagements regarding medical malpractice litigation. In 2021, he was even named the Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice in Fort Lauderdale.
Mr. Cohen is a key member of our medical malpractice team, winning seven- and eight-figure verdicts and settlements against major healthcare providers and insurers. If you think you have a case, reach out to see what we can do for you.
Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen offers free consultations for medical malpractice victims. Call us at (866) 629-1061 to schedule yours.