By Ishani Desai, The BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
December 18, 2021
A local mother said Friday her deceased pregnant daughter was denied justice when the Medical Board of California decided to forgo an administrative hearing for a Bakersfield doctor accused of negligence in her death and agreed to let him surrender his license.
“It was so disappointing,” said Tracy Dominguez, the mother of 23-year-old Demi Dominguez. “I was upset and hurt.”
Arthur M. Park, an OB-GYN, was scheduled to appear before an administrative judge in early January for a hearing about his license in the case about Demi Dominguez. However, according to a filing by the Medical Board of California, Park approved surrendering his license Dec. 3 so that he could never practice as a physician and surgeon in California. The agreement becomes effective Dec. 30.
Demi Dominguez, 23, went to Mercy Southwest Hospital on April 15, 2019, complaining of increased swelling, according to the accusation filed by then-Attorney General for California Xavier Becerra. When she was admitted, the doctor did not speak with the patient, obtain her history or perform a physical exam, the accusation states.
Park claims in the accusation to have seen Dominguez on three separate occasions, but admitted that he forgot to write down notes about her condition. Park could not be reached for comment Friday.
Then, despite her fluctuating blood pressure, Park discharged her, with only instructions to follow-up. She visited a doctor only identified as H.Y. on April 17, 2019, and the doctor scheduled an appointment two weeks later, the accusation said.
Two days later, Dominguez’s fiancé found her suffering from a seizure. She was taken to Mercy Southwest Hospital, where she died. Her baby boy also died.
“(Her death) was preventable,” Tracy Dominguez said. “For these doctors … she didn’t matter.”
This alleged offense is not the only mark upon Park’s record.
The doctor had been placed on probation two separate times: The first time was in connection to the death of two babies, and the other regarded the death of another mother who had just delivered.
“Justice wasn’t served for all these young women, young mothers and babies that died,” said patient safety advocate with the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog Michele Monserratt-Ramos, regarding Park’s agreement to surrender his license.
Monserratt-Ramos hopes Bakersfield residents will become educated to engage in their own health care and examine the background of their physicians.
Tracy Dominguez plans to create a scholarship in the name of her daughter, who was set to graduate from Cal State Bakersfield with a bachelor’s degree in psychology before her death.
“She just left a big hole in so many people’s hearts,” Tracy said. “I really want to keep her legacy alive.”