June 3, 2020…

A local OB-GYN will begin five years of probation later this month following a state investigation into the death of one of his patients in September 2016.

The doctor, Arthur Park, cannot work in a hospital setting, practice obstetrics or perform surgery while on probation, according to a settlement decision published on the Medical Board of California's website. Park may provide prenatal care but only under the supervision of another doctor and only during certain periods of a woman's pregnancy. He's allowed to continue practicing gynecology during his probationary period.

Park couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Michele Monserratt-Ramos, a patient advocate with Consumer Watchdog who's followed Park's case, warned that Park could technically continue practicing medicine without restrictions until the probation starts June 26.

Park is also being sued for the wrongful deaths of another patient, Demi Ruben Dominguez, and her unborn son, Malakhi Ruben DeLeon, who died in April 2019. Monserratt-Ramos said the state is also investigating that case and the medical board will also likely review it.

The medical board's website shows Park also previously served a three-year probation starting in 2000 after the deaths of two babies in 1996 and 1997 whose mothers were in Park's care.

“The losses of the young mothers and babies are deeply felt by the families and the community,” said Monserratt-Ramos. “The mothers and the families of the victims want to know how many of their daughters and babies have to die before the Medical Board will revoke his license.” 

The case resulting in the most recent decision for probation involved 23-year-old Celeste Ortiz, who died after giving birth to a child in September 2016 at San Joaquin Community Hospital (now known as Adventist Health Bakersfield) where Park was the on-call doctor. According to the medical board's records, Park forcibly removed Ortiz's placenta following the birth, with forceps and by hand, tearing her uterus and cervix in the process. She began to hemorrhage but Park failed to recognize her distress and provide appropriate care despite a nurse requesting his intervention multiple times. The nurse later contacted another doctor and Ortiz was taken to the intensive care unit but she later died after going into cardiac arrest.

The state investigation detailed 10 instances where Park deviated from the standard of care in Ortiz's death, including failing to wait the appropriate time before removing the placenta, failing to provide her with medication to alleviate pain, failing to recognize she was in shock and for his delay in contacting the hospital's rapid response team.