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Horrified Mom Says She Had an Emergency C-Section Without Anesthesia

Photograph by Twenty20

Things don't usually go according to (the birth) plan, but for one mom, what she endured was straight up unimaginable. Delphina Mota went to Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, California, a little before noon on November 15 to have her labor induced, according to the malpractice and negligence lawsuit she recently filed. Mota was more than 41 weeks pregnant. At around 11 p.m., an epidural was administered, then Pitocin to induce contractions was started 20 minutes later.

But around 12:30 a.m. the next day (the 16th), the 26-year-old woman's blood pressure dropped and the Pitocin was temporarily discontinued. Five hours later, things turned urgent when the fetal heart rate could not be read, and the obstetrician, Dr. Sandra Lopez, "appropriately called for an emergency C-section."

Problem was, the anesthesiologist on call, Dr. David Seif, was paged multiple times but didn't respond, the suit states. The epidural given earlier by him had numbed her from the waist down, but "had absolutely no effect on the surgical site for the C-section, which was located on her abdomen."

Nine minutes had passed since sending out the page and still no sign of Dr. Seif. So, the mom was strapped down to the operating table and Dr. Lopez proceeded to perform the C-section.

"Mota was crying and screaming at the top of her lungs, [saying] that she could feel everything that was happening, and was also pleading for help," the suit states.

Mota was crying and screaming at the top of her lungs, [saying] that she could feel everything that was happening.

Her fiancé, Paul Iheanachor, was just outside the operating room door and could hear the screams. He said he tried to get inside the operating room, but was held back by hospital personnel.

"If somebody put a knife in your stomach and cut you open, and had their hands on your insides and ripped your baby out, you know. I just tried to put myself in her shoes. Just tried to wrap my mind around how it would feel to basically be gutted like a fish," Iheanachor told NBC 7.

An excerpt of Dr. Lopez's "Operative Report" was quoted in the suit. It said that Dr. Seif came into the room during the operation, after Lopez was already separating the mom's abdomen muscles.

"The group, on behalf of Dr. Seif, is confident that anesthesia services would have been available, and were available," a representative of Anesthesia Service Medical Group, a group of which Dr. Seif is a member, told NBC 7. "Additionally, the group and Dr. Seif are confident that the care provided by Dr. Seif was appropriate under the circumstances."

Tri-City Healthcare District said they cannot comment further on pending litigation.

"I understand why they did it," Mota told the Los Angeles Times. "But this is a hospital. ... There should have been measures in place."

The baby girl, Cali, is now 8 months old and is happy and healthy, but the horrific experience is something her parents will never forget.

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