Attorney Gary Cohen was proud to win justice for the family of Onystei Castillo-Lopez, a young mother who died of postpartum hemorrhage while under the care of Dr. Berto Lopez. Sadly, Onystei was not the first patient to lose her life because she went to see Dr. Lopez. A recent investigation by CBS12 News delved into Dr. Lopez’s horrific career. Reporters reached out to Attorney Cohen for input.
Upon hearing of Onystei’s case, Attorney Cohen conducted his own investigation into Dr. Lopez. What he found was a long history of medical malpractice, including six women and babies dead, two botched circumcisions, and multiple severe injuries. Attorney Cohen and Onystei’s family promptly sued the doctor to have his license revoked.
A quick look at Dr. Lopez’s decades-long medical career reveals lawsuits in 1988, 1993, and 1994 filed over the deaths of a mother and two babies. In 2004, he performed botched surgery on a mother, which ultimately resulted in a miscarriage. Then in 2011, he failed to perform a timely C-section, causing neurological damage to a newborn. Just a year later, he improperly performed a hysterectomy on a patient and botched an ovary removal surgery on another. The latter died, leaving behind a tight-knit family. In 2014, another patient of Dr. Lopez would die from internal bleeding after a C-section. Onystei would become his next victim two years later.
“What's clear from his record going way back -- he's been practicing medicine since '87 -- it's clear that he is not competent and should have been removed from practicing medicine in Florida many years ago,” Attorney Cohen told CBS12.
In fact, according to CBS12, Dr. Lopez had been sued a total of nine times during his career. So why did it take so long for the Florida Board of Medicine to revoke his license?
Sadly, the answer lies in the design of the system itself.
“The system is made to prevent patients from getting any kind of justice,” Attorney Cohen said. “And it's getting worse, not better.”
Even when doctors are sued for malpractice, it is all too easy for them to cover up the case by settling early. If the medical board revokes their license, they have the option to appeal, per CBS12, delaying the revocation by taking the case to an administrative judge. They are legally allowed to continue to practice while the appeal is under review. Motivated by money, the hospitals hardly bat an eye.
In short, the system is designed to protect doctors instead of patients.
The system can be made better, however. Attorney Cohen is proud to be part of that movement, along with the attorney team at Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen. Our South Florida law firm fights tooth and nail to ensure health care providers are held accountable and penalized when they commit malpractice.
Read more about the Lopez case and how negligent doctors stay in practice on CBS12 News here. To contact Attorney Cohen or another member of our attorney team, call (866) 629-1061 or send us a message online.