Bakersfield, CA – The Medical Board of California has allowed a 25-year repeat offender doctor to surrender his license on a technicality and not face charges before an administrative law judge in an accusation based on the death of a local mother.
In a backroom agreement, the Medical Board signed off on a settlement deal that allows Bakersfield OB-GYN Dr. Arthur Park to avoid a public hearing into the young mother’s death. He instead surrendered his license quietly based on a probation violation, inferring that he has ceased to practice due to retirement or health reasons, not his responsibility for the young mother’s death. The surrender agreement can be found here.
Dr. Arthur Park was set to stand before an administrative law judge on January 10, 2022 in Los Angeles to face revocation of his license to practice medicine for the death of Demi Dominguez, a 23-year old mother who died of undiagnosed preeclampsia. Park was already on probation for the 2016 death of another Bakersfield mother, and had faced an earlier probation for the deaths of two babies. Charges of medical negligence and disciplinary actions against Park go back 25 years.
“I felt confident that our family was finally going to get some accountability and justice for Demi,” stated Demi Dominguez’ mother Tracy Dominguez. “When Deputy Attorney General Vladimir Shalkevich told me, on behalf of the Medical Board, that Dr. Park would be facing an administrative law judge and he actually subpoenaed me as a witness at the hearing, I felt that justice might finally be served for Central Valley families. But I was wrong. There is no accountability or justice for families in California.”
This is not the first time that the Medical Board has offered Dr. Park a deal that allows him to escape accountability for the deaths of Central Valley mothers and babies.
Demi Dominguez’s family has worked with Consumer Watchdog to expose the many cases of patient harm and deaths linked to Dr. Arthur Park and educate young mothers on their need to engage in their healthcare. Dominguez’s family supports The Fairness Act, a November ballot measure that lifts California’s nearly 50-year-old cap on quality of life and wrongful death compensation in medical negligence cases that has prevented them getting justice in the courts. Read about and watch Demi Dominguez’s story here: https://www.patientsforfairness.org/demidominguez/
The education campaign began following another settlement deal that Deputy Attorney General Shalkevich offered Dr. Arthur Park on behalf of the medical board following the 2016 death of 23-year-old Celeste Ortiz. Similarly, the Medical Board, according to the family, promised the Ortiz family that Dr. Park would face an administrative law judge for possible revocation of his license. Unknown to the family, the Medical Board settled with Dr. Park, offering him probation that allowed him to practice and continue to harm other Central Valley mothers and babies.
“Once again the state has failed my family. We completely commited our efforts to not only seek justice for Demi and my son Malakhi but also for all of the mothers and babies in the Central Valley that have suffered at the hands of Dr. Arthur Park.” stated Demi Dominguez’ fiancé Xavier De Leon.
Demi Dominguez spent 16 hours in Mercy Southwest Hospital under the care of the on-call doctor Arthur Park. During those 16 hours, Dr. Arthur Park did not see Dominguez, he did not assess her, and he did not offer a plan of treatment. He told nurses to verbally discharge her without a diagnosis or treatment.
The California Department of Public Health also investigated Demi Dominguez’ case. Following a surprise inspection, Mercy Southwest Hospital was cited for three state deficiencies including one directly linked to physician conduct. The hospital representatives confirmed and verified that Demi Dominguez was discharged without a diagnosis and without a plan of treatment. The Department of Public Health Statement of Deficiencies can be found here.
“I am angry and disappointed. I have focused my advocacy efforts for two years trying to get justice for my daughter only to have the Medical Board and the Deputy Attorney General lie to me and once again allow Arthur Park to escape from any accountability for my daughter’s death, my grandson’s death, Celeste Ortiz’s death, and the many mothers and babies that have suffered and died under Park’s care,” said Demi’s mother Tracy Dominguez.
Medical Board of California Public Board member T.J. Watkins went on the record at a state legislative hearing, (watch his testimony here), that the Medical Board’s priority is protecting doctors. Watkins’ testimony and subsequent revelations to news media make clear how the entire Medical Board complaint process is unfair to families, said Consumer Watchdog. The Board focuses on rehabilitation of doctors, settlement deals protecting doctors, and giving back licenses to dangerous doctors who had their licenses revoked, according to his reports. Read Watkins’ interview with the Los Angeles Times: TJ Watkins interview.
“I have worked directly with Demi and Malakhi’s families for two years,” stated Michele Monserratt-Ramos, Consumer Watchdog’s Kathy Olsen Patient Advocate. “I worked with them to develop the Bakersfield Families Call for Action campaign to help them get justice for Central Valley families. They went above and beyond to get justice for their family and their community and justice was not served.”
“The Medical Board has shown that they prefer to protect doctors over patients, and now it also appears that the Deputy Attorney General has done the same. Demi and my grandson deserved justice. We have come forward to fight not only for our family but for all Californians and we will continue to do so,” stated Monique Himes, Demi’s mother-in-law and Malakhi’s grandmother.
This lack of regulatory board accountability for families has led Central Valley families and families across the state of California to come together to update the 1975 medical negligence cap for wrongful death and quality of life damages. The Fairness for Injured Patients Act will go to a vote of the people on November 9, 2022. You can find Demi Dominguez’ and her son Malakhi’s stories and the stories of other injured patients whose families are fighting for accountability for all Californians at www.PatientsforFairness.org.
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Paid for by Consumer Watchdog Campaign for the Fairness for Injured Patients Act Committee major funding from: Consumer Watchdog Campaign Nonprofit 501(c)(4).