One rotten apple . . . we all know the cliché but it becomes dangerous when that apple ends up in a position of responsibility and authority. Thank goodness those apples are far and few between in obstetrics but when they emerge, disasters are not far behind. Such was the case of Melissa Halladay who, in 2009, was pregnant and under the care of her primary obstetrician at a medical group. Halladay had been a patient at the medical group since 1995 but it is not clear how long her primary obstetrician had been associated with the group. I wish Halladay had read Chapter 1 in The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy. It provides a check list on what to look for regarding selecting an obstetrical healthcare provider which is the most important step in having a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Halladay had developed gestational diabetes in the third trimester that was controlled with insulin. At almost 39 weeks she presented to the medical office with a complaint of vaginal discharge. A urine analysis demonstrated an extremely high level of sugar. Allegedly, Dr. Lucas was informed of the patient’s condition and subsequently ordered her discharge home without ever seeing her with instructions to keep her feet up and drink more fluids. The discharge persisted for the next 6 days, she was evaluated in the emergency room and sent home with the same instructions to keep her feet up and drink more fluids.
When Halladay developed contractions and went to the hospital, the staff was unable to hear her baby’s heartbeat. She subsequently gave birth to a 9-pound boy that was a stillbirth. What Halladay didn’t know was that her obstetrician, Dr. Geoffrey Lucas was arrested for two class C felony counts involving prescription drugs, and first-degree identity theft, a class D felony. In 2009, Dr. Lucas was also arrested for driving while intoxicated, failure to keep right, leaving the scene of a property damage motor vehicle accident, failure to obey a police officer, open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, and unregistered and uninspected motor vehicle. I’m almost certain that had Halladay done a background check on Dr. Geoffrey Lucas, she might have opted to see another physician.
I am deeply saddened at the outcome of Halladay’s pregnancy. When a mother loses a child, the whole world cries.
A healthy baby doesn’t just happen…It takes a Smart Mother who knows what to do! Check out my new video for The Smart Mother’s Guide and share with your friends!