Local hospital fined after death of pregnant mother, baby

May 20, 2015 8:40 PM by Brian Doyle

Glenn Medical Center in Willows has been fined $50,000 after hospital staff misdiagnosed a pregnant woman's condition, causing her and her unborn baby's death hours later.

According to a report from the California Department of Public Health, doctors missed signs that the 9-month pregnant woman was suffering from pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication caused by high blood pressure that when untreated can develop into a life threatening condition called eclampsia.

The woman, 29, checked into Glenn Medical Center around 9 p.m. September 29, 2013. Through a family member who was translating, she complained of severe pain in her stomach and noted the fact that she had eaten hot peppers a few hours earlier.

The doctor performed a general exam at 9:42 p.m., and the woman reported she had no previous complications with her pregnancy and even denied being in labor.

The doctor told health officials that during the examination, a lab technician was not on duty, so a urine test was never performed. The report also found no evidence a reflex test, which could have detected pre-eclampsia, was performed.

The woman was released from Glenn Medical Center at 10:40 p.m. and at 11:11 p.m. an ambulance was called to her home. The ambulance arrived at 11:20 p.m. and took the woman to a second hospital.

Upon arrival at the second hospital, the woman began having seizures and her baby was delivered stillborn. A short time later the woman was determined to have a catastrophic brain bleed and pronounced braindead. She was then placed on life support, but was taken off and declared dead October 1, 2013.

An investigation by officials with the department of public health found that Glenn Medical Center failed to diagnose the woman with pre-eclampsia due to the facility's failure to perform an adequate screening exam. The investigation also found that the aforementioned failure likely caused the death of the woman and her baby.

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