WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — A Palm Beach County obstetrician has lost his medical license after he was found liable for the death of a mother following a complicated childbirth in 2017.
Dr. Berto Lopez, 62, had been practicing obstetrics and gynecology in West Palm Beach for 38 years.
The OB-GYN has had prior complaints filed against him by state health officials, including one involving Onystei Castillo-Lopez who bled to death July 2017.
Castillo-Lopez's family hired Boca Raton-based medical malpractice attorney Gary Cohen after it was discovered Dr. Lopez left the hospital to change out of his 'blood-soaked' scrubs and didn’t return.
“He claims there’s no more scrubs in the hospital, which is ridiculous and irrelevant, and he leaves the hospital,” said Gary Cohen of Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen.
“Dr. Lopez had caused multiple lacerations with a scalpel on her cervix as the baby was being delivered. What he needed to do was a full hysterectomy, taking out the entire uterus and cervix, that’s where she’s [Castillo-Lopez] bleeding from.”
Cohen said Dr. Lopez performed a partial hysterectomy instead.
According to the complaint, for nearly four years, Dr. Lopez argued in his defense there "were difficulties during the procedures because of inadequate lighting and a view obstructed by bleeding."
At the time of Castillo-Lopez’s death, the OB-GYN faced two prior malpractice cases and was under restrictions from the Florida Department of Health.
“Because he was restricted in his privileges for causing the death of another woman, he couldn’t operate on anybody without another obstetrician being present,” explained Gary Cohen.
An agreement that Cohen said the hospital knew about -- but his patients had no idea.
“The hospital had the order from the Department of Medicine. They knew what he could do and what he had done in the past, and they let him continue to bring patients there,” said Gary Cohen. “This is a doctor who should not have been practicing before this happened, and the state knew it, and let it go. That’s the lesson that needs to be learned.”
He added that women need to know this is an issue.
“They need to find out who’s operating on them, what staff is available and what their record is,” said Gary Cohen. “The United States in the year 2021 has the worst record in the industrialized world for maternal death by bleeding.”
Meantime, Berto Lopez’s attorney tells CBS12 News he appeals the court’s decision -- but voluntarily dismissed it.
Castillo-Lopez leaves behind her son Jorge Jason and daughter, Priscilla.
Widower Jorge Miranda shared his reaction Monday evening.
"It's too late, but it’s time. It’s good...no more medicine for this guy," said Miranda outside his Royal Palm Beach home. "Very sad. I feel very bad. It’s not just me, it’s all of the family.”