By Alix Langone
August 5, 2018

A San Diego woman is claiming she wasn’t given anesthesia during an emergency Caesarean-section surgery in a lawsuit.

Delfina Mota, 26, was 41 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the Tri-City Medical Center in San Diego on Nov 15. to have labor induced. After hours of labor, Mota’s obstetrician, Dr. Sandra Lopez, made the decision to call for emergency C-section surgery after the fetal heart beat could no longer be detected, according to the San Diego Tribune. When the anesthesiologist, Dr. David Seif, could not be located, Lopez moved forward with the C-section surgery anyway, Mota claims.

“Page him, keep paging him,” she told the Tribune she could hear the doctor saying in the operating room.

“All of the sudden I felt cutting on my stomach … a burning sensation,” she said, before passing out from the pain.

According to the lawsuit, Mota was “crying and screaming at the top of her lungs, that she could feel everything that was happening, and was also pleading for help.” The suit says that the anesthesiologist appeared in the operating room about halfway through the surgery.

“I understand why they did it,” she said to the Tribune. “But this is a hospital… There should have been measures in place.” The baby girl, named Cali, was delivered healthy and is now about seven months old.

“There was nothing they could have told me to prepare me for the screams that I heard and the feeling that I got when they started the surgery,” Paul Iheanachor, 35, the baby’s father, told the Tribune. “I heard the screams, the horrific screams. That’s when I realized they were cutting her without anesthesia.”

The hospital said it does not usually comment on pending litigation, but that Mota’s “public discussion of the care she received during her emergency C-section compels us to address this outrageous allegation. The patient was administered anesthesia prior to the surgery. We are pleased that the baby is ‘healthy’ and ‘happy.’”

The lawsuit, which names the hospital, surgeon and the anesthesiologist alleges “medical malpractice, loss of consortium, negligent infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery,” according to the Tribune. Mota’s lawyer, Norman Finkelstein, said in 35 years as a lawyer he’s “never seen anything like it.”

Although the lawsuit does not include financial details, the claim the couple filed against Tri-City Medical Center prior to the lawsuit was for $5.75 million, the Tribune reports.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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