Broward County

Florida woman died after childbirth; doctors delayed C-section for over 14 hours

Meeting the challenges of measuring and preventing maternal mortality in the United States

Women in the United States are more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes than other women in high-income countries. Racial disparities persist.
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Women in the United States are more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes than other women in high-income countries. Racial disparities persist.

A jury in Broward County awarded $24.5 million to the family of Lilia Torres, a mom of four who died after giving birth to her last child, Lillian Deyalaza Vargas.

Torres, who lived in Fort Lauderdale with her husband, Rodolfo Vargas Chavez, and their three children, was 34 when she died after delivering their daughter Lilian in July 2015.

The jury in Florida’s 17th Circuit Court deliberated about two hours Wednesday in the damages-only trial before detailing the monetary amounts that are to be paid to Chavez and their children, reported Courtroom View Network.

According to court records, the jury awarded damages of $3.675 million to Chavez; $4.9 million apiece to their older children Karla, Octavio and Estrella. The four had previously been awarded $1 million apiece.

Lillian, now 3, was awarded $6.125 million for, as with the other children, “the loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance and her pain and suffering as a result of Lilia Torres’ injury and death.”

According to the lawsuit, Torres bled to death after delivering Lillian from a Cesarean section procedure performed by a team of doctors — named defendants Dr. Adolfo Gonzalez-Garcia, Dr. Jorge Gallo, Dr. Julio Coello and Dr. Kei Nakanishi and Phoenix Obstetrics Gynecology.

She had the baby at Broward General.

According to court records, Torres was scheduled for the Cesarean section delivery of her child at 10 a.m. on July 21, 2015. The procedure was not performed until after midnight on July 22, 2015, and was performed as a routine Cesarean section.

The doctors were found negligent, a point they conceded during the damages trial.

The family was represented by Fort Lauderdale firm Freedland Harwin Valori and Coral Gables-based The Haggard Law Firm served as co-counsel. The doctors’ team was represented by Lacava & Jacobson of Fort Lauderdale and Texas-based Schell Cooley Ryan Campbell.

Elesandro Flores Jr.'s wife, Charlene, who had an ongoing heart condition, died following the C-section birth of their daughter Quinn on Oct. 24.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.


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