By Ilyana Capellan, KGET NBC TV-17 Bakersfield, CA
March 19, 2021
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET)– We’ve been closely following the case of Demi Dominguez. Last week we told you about the fight the Dominguez family continues to battle for the justice of Demi Dominguez and her son Malakhi De Leon who died in 2019. It was later determined that she had undiagnosed pre-eclampsia, a medical complication during her pregnancy.
Today, the fight continued in front of the state Senate and Assembly members. The Dominguez family participated in the hearing virtually and spoke during the public comment section, making their concerns with the medical board known.
As the review hearing prepared to begin, a wave of silence and anxiety filled the room the Dominguez family calls their “war room.” This is a fight the family has put countless hours into over the past two years. This morning the hearing questioned who exactly the medical board protects.
The Board offered the following statistics to open the hearing: They received between 10,000-11,000 complaints between 2019-2020. 1,956 Investigations were opened. 380 Disciplinary actions were taken.
“It’s horrible, it’s unacceptable,” said Demi’s mother Tracy Dominguez. “It just goes to show how much care they have for the community overall, just how much the numbers are skewed in favor of the board versus the complaints of the public,” said Demi’s fiancé and Malakhi’s father, Xavier De Leon.
When a complaint is filed with the board and they decide to follow up with disciplinary action there are different levels of discipline starting with a warning letter, followed by public reprimand, probation, suspension, and finally license revocation.
The board is made up of eight doctors and four public members. TJ Watkins is a public member of the board. He says the board uses a legal veil to protect the doctors, and the public members don’t have enough of a vote to make a difference.
This is why families like Demi and Malakhi’s joined the hearing for public comments and made their voices heard, asking for the California State Medical Board to be disbanded and completely rebuilt.
“It is now the time to overhaul the medical board if you don’t have the will to do it, so then sunset the board. you did not protect my daughter. You took my daughter’s future away,” said Tracy Dominguez during her public comment to the board.
“We have to take action now otherwise mothers and babies like my grandson will continue to die,” said Xavier’s mom Monique Himes.
The hearing went on for over five hours and no decision was made today. The family says the fight continues, but they definitely feel like their voices were heard.