Having a baby is undoubtedly one of the most terrifying experiences of many women’s lives. And as a result, it’s important that they feel comfortable in their delivery doctor’s care. So when one woman noticed something strange about her obstetrician’s behavior, it quickly set alarm bells ringing.
Alex Sims comes from Las Vegas, Nevada. As a preschool teacher she is no doubt a natural around young children. It’s safe to say, then, that she was looking forward to the prospect of welcoming her son, Jared, into the world in May 2015.
And when the time came for Alex to deliver her baby, doctors placed her into an induced labor at Sunrise Hospital in Winchester, Nevada. Due to complications, however, medical staff thought that the expectant mom may need an emergency c-section. And to make matters even worse, her regular doctor was on vacation.
Instead, Sims would be in the care of Dr. Frank DeLee – the hospital’s on-call obstetrician at the time. DeLee has been delivering babies since 1981 and, according to his website, bringing new life into the world is his passion. It therefore seemed that Alex could expect to be in very safe hands.
As soon as DeLee walked into the delivery room, however, Alex’s mother Sheree – who was there to support her daughter through the birth – sensed that something was not right. In fact, according to the soon-to-be grandma, the doctor smelled of alcohol.
Things then took an even more worrying turn. You see, Sheree claims that the doctor appeared to suggest that he’d arrived at the hospital from a bar. And a cell-phone video from Alex’s delivery room could back up her mother’s accusations.
In the footage, which was obtained by Nevada news channel KTNV, DeLee can seemingly be heard telling a nurse that “there wasn’t many people in the bar when [he] left.” But, as though unconcerned by the doctor’s line of conversation, the nurse appears to have replied, “I’m sorry. Did you waste a drink?”
And the alleged discussion about alcohol apparently didn’t end there. In the video, as Alex lies in her hospital bed, the nurse seems to ask DeLee if it was vodka that he had left. “Is Belvedere that you just had to pour out?” she appears to say. “No, tequila,” he seems to respond.
At that point, then, as Alex and Sheree grew even more concerned. You see, the pair had noticed something unusual about the doctor’s appearance as well. As they looked down at the obstetrician’s feet, in fact, they saw that he was barefoot. And that wasn’t all. According to Alex’s lawyer, Cal Potter, he was also wearing Bermuda shorts.
Then, later in the video, an unidentified voice off camera appears to ask, “You were already at happy hour?” To which DeLee seems to reply, “Well, look what time it is.” The nurse then chips into the conversation, apparently adding, “He’s been at happy hour since my c-section.”
Throughout this time, however, Alex was dealing with her delivery pains. “I kept telling the doctor I can feel everything,” she subsequently told KTNV. “I think the epidural wore off. And he’s like, ‘Oh just scoot your fat ass down,’ and ‘Oh, I bet you wish your doctor would have came back in town.’”
Now, Alex’s allegations may sound too shocking to be true. In her family’s footage from the delivery, however, DeLee seemingly says, “I was told not to say lift your fat ass up and don’t you wish Richter stayed in town this weekend now?” – Richter being the name of Alex’s usual doctor.
KTNV went on to claim that, in the video, DeLee even mentions the name of the bar that he had supposedly visited. And the Nevada news channel also alleged that he refers to a brand of tequila. When the news network reached out to the doctor, though, under the advice of his lawyer, he declined to comment.
Following the birth of her grandson, Jared, Sheree’s stomach dropped. “The baby’s arm went like this,” she subsequently told KTNV. “And I said, ‘Something’s wrong with his arm. What’s wrong with his arm?’” Experts later diagnosed Jared with Erb’s Palsy – paralysis of the arm caused by a nerve injury.
And it was because of this diagnosis that Alex decided to launch a lawsuit against DeLee. She and her attorney alleged that the doctor’s rough delivery method had caused Jared’s Erb’s Palsy. Indeed, they claimed that because of DeLee, her son will have to live with the disability for the rest of his life.
Alex’s attorney, Cal Potter, stated that the system had betrayed the young mom and her family. He also claimed that the hospital and nurses involved had not fulfilled their duty to stop DeLee. “It’s a very disturbing sequence of events that took place,” Potter said. “I think any person should be horrified.”
What’s more, medical experts who reviewed Alex’s case apparently determined that DeLee used “inappropriate techniques by pulling” on her baby’s arms. Court documents reveal, however, that DeLee denied any liability. Meanwhile, Sunrise Hospital requested that the court tossed out some of the claims outlined in the lawsuit.
Contact 13, KTNV’s investigative news arm, moreover, claimed that this was not the first time that DeLee had been accused of malpractice. Indeed, it alleged that according to records held by the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, the doctor settled a case of “negligent vaginal delivery resulting in shoulder dystocia” in 2012. Contact 13 also claimed that DeLee was the subject of another half-dozen accusations that involved more than $2.7 million in insurance payouts and settlements.
“It’s very surprising because if he has a track record, I don’t understand why he still has a license to practice,” Alex said in reference to the other allegations. And the disgruntled mom also stated that she was worried that other families may suffer similar experiences if nothing changed.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear what became of Alex’s lawsuit or if it is still ongoing. However, the doting mom certainly seemed determined to find answers for her son’s sake. “Someone needs to be accountable,” she said. “And I just feel like, if I don’t speak up for my child, who will?”