Fentanyl-related patient death under review at California hospital

A healthy patient expecting her fourth child died after receiving pain medication at Memorial Hospital-Bakersfield (Calif.), 23ABC News reports.

Sabrina De La Rosa was experiencing pain Jan. 9 from contractions, her family told 23ABC Jan. 13. A nurse told the family that the hospital gave Ms. De La Rosa pain medication approved by her OB-GYN, Jason Helliwell, MD. Dr. Helliwell has been on probation for gross negligence and sexual misconduct since July 2018, The Bakersfield Californian reported last year, while also facing at least 31 felony charges filed in September 2019 for allegedly filing false claims for health benefits. Dr. Helliwell's office did not comment when contacted by 23ABC. 

Ms. De La Rosa screamed when she received a shot of pain medication, her family said. Her mother asked what the medicine was and the nurse responded, "100 milliliters of fentanyl," family member Mariah Borgna told 23ABC. 

More pain medication was administered through an IV drip within the hour. Family members said the patient passed out and had a seizure, with nurses filling the room to perform CPR.

"They did CPR for about 15 to 20 minutes and then they did an emergency C-section," Ms. Borgna told 23ABC. "They never once cleaned her up. … She was covered in blood from head to toe." 

The baby is alive and healthy, but Ms. De La Rosa's family said they still don't know why Ms. De La Rosa died.

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family of Sabrina De La Rosa for their loss," Memorial Hospital-Bakersfield said in a Jan. 13 statement. "An open and transparent dialogue between hospital leadership and Sabrina's family is ongoing to assist them during this difficult time. Safety and patient care are our highest priorities and the case is currently under review. Consistent with patient privacy laws and hospital policy, we do not discuss the specifics of any patient's care." 

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