The family of a baby boy fear he could lose his hearing in one ear after it was badly cut during a cesarean section performed at a private hospital under the dim light of cell phones during a power outage in Baja California earlier this month.
Karla Araceli Urizandi Martínez, 19, gave birth to Julián Adriel in the Clinica Internacional de Especialidades (CIE) in Mexicali on June 6. A medical team performed the C-section under the glow of cell phones after the lights went out in the hospital, which didn’t make use of any alternative power source.
According to a Reforma newspaper report, Urizandi’s operation was originally scheduled to commence at 11 a.m. but she wasn’t anesthetized until 12:40 p.m. The power outage began at 12:48 p.m. but the doctor, David Santoyo Alanís, reportedly decided to proceed with the cesarean against the expectant mother’s wishes because she had already been anesthetized.
“I don’t want to be operated on [in the dark], I don’t want to die,” Urizandi told Santoyo, according to Reforma. The doctor subsequently informed her husband that the hospital had its own source of power and that the operating room where the C-section was to take place was illuminated, a claim Reforma described as a lie.
The medical team led by Santoyo proceeded with the operation and due to a lack of light, cut the baby’s left ear as well as part of an infantile hemangioma, commonly known as a strawberry mark.
Sonia Martínez Andrade, Urizandi’s mother, told Reforma last week that her grandson was receiving medical treatment at another hospital. Testing will determine whether his sense of hearing has been affected. The whole left side of his head swelled up due to the injury he sustained.
Martínez accused the medical team of negligence, and told Reforma that Santoyo hasn’t accepted responsibility for cutting the baby’s ear. “He told my son-in-law, ‘They cut his ear, it wasn’t me,’” she said.
Martínez also said the doctor left the operating room before her daughter’s abdomen had been sown up. A different doctor tried to reconstruct the baby’s ear, she added.
Urizandi’s family filed a complaint with the Baja California Attorney General’s Office, but no action has yet been taken against members of the medical team or the hospital. The CIE has operated in Mexicali for almost 30 years, having been established in 1993.
While Santoyo and other members of the team that performed the C-section could be sanctioned for medical negligence, the hospital could face consequences – including a large fine and a temporary or permanent closure – for failing to meet minimum infrastructure requirements. Hospitals are required to have alternative sources of power, and to use them in case of a power outage.