GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been just over a week since Leah Gomez was shot and killed in her car downtown with her almost 2-year-old daughter, Rosabell, left in the backseat.
As police continue to search for Luis Fabian Bernal-Sosa, the man they believe is responsible for her murder and Rosabell’s father, Gomez’s family is taking on a different battle in her honor.
Shortly after Gomez’s daughter was born, she filed a lawsuit against Corewell Health, claiming malpractice and negligence during delivery caused her daughter’s disabilities. Now that Gomez is gone, her family is fighting the battle for her.
Gomez had been fighting for her daughter since the day she was born, when her family claims complications at the hospital led to the child having severe medical issues. It all began the night Rosabell was born at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital.
In a video produced by her law firm, Gomez recalled the moments Rosabell was born.
“While I was getting stitched back up, I had to watch her be revived,” said Gomez. “And another thing, is I didn’t get to hold her or do skin-to-skin until the fifth day of life.”
“She expected Rosabell to come out crying, and she thought she would be able to hold her, and nurse her, and those are things she was really looking forward to,” said Stephanie Hoffer, the family’s attorney. “Instead, Rosabell comes out not moving, not crying, blue, and she had to watch Rosabell be taken to a table and she watched the resuscitation.”
According to Hoffer, Rosabell was delivered by cesarean section. Court documents show it was decided Gomez was to have a C-section after undergoing multiple rounds of Pitocin, a medication used to stimulate contractions.
“With the Pitocin, baby Rosabell’s heartrate was showing that she was struggling a little bit, but when they would stop the Pitocin, she was able to recover,” said Hoffer.
Hoffer said the fetal monitor was removed from Gomez while prepping for surgery and was never re-applied from 12:48 a.m., when anesthesia was started, until 1:27 a.m. when baby Rosabell was born.
“It was 40 minutes between the time Leah was taken off the monitor and the time baby Rosabell was delivered,” said Hoffer. “Our lawsuit alleges that if the heart monitor had been kept on Rosabell, if it had been put back on, they would have seen changes in Rosabell’s heartrate like they did with each time that they did the Pitocin.”
The lawsuit claims that in the time the fetal monitor was not on, Rosabell lost too much oxygen, leading to permanent brain damage.
“The mistake of not putting the monitors on wasn’t just like a broken arm or something that happened during birth where it’s fixable. This is something that she has to live with for the rest of her life,” said Gomez.
Court documents also show the anesthesiologist asked numerous times to re-apply the monitor. However, nurses refused the request, stating the obstetrics team was on the way and that the C-section was not because the baby was in distress.
Medical records from the anesthesiologist’s state the nurses didn’t know where the equipment was or where the OB surgeons were.
“There’s a medical malpractice claim on behalf of Rosabell and there’s also a general negligence claim on behalf of Rosabell,” said Hoffer.
Attorneys for Corewell Health deny the allegations, which they said are false. They also said the plaintiff’s statements are incomplete and taken out of context. News 8 reached out to Corewell Health regarding these allegations. It responded with this statement:
“We are aware of the concerns raised, and we empathize with all involved. The care and safety of our patients are our top priorities. We are unable to comment about specific patients.”
Now, two years after Rosabell was born, she remains in her grandmother’s care and without her mother, who did so much for her.
“She cannot walk, she can’t talk, she can’t cry, she can’t swallow, she has seizures quite frequently,” said Hoffer.
During our interview with Hoffer, we also asked what she thinks Gomez would want for Rosabell if she was still here today.
“She wanted Rosabell to have as many experiences in life as she could, based on her condition,” said Hoffer. “So, for example, Rosabell, you know, she can’t eat, she can’t swallow but Leah, at her first party for Rosabell, took a little bit of frosting on her finger, and just, you know, put just a smidge on Rosabell’s tongue.”
“The little sounds that she does make, makes me happy because I know that it’s something that she can do,” said Gomez in the video. “And it just gives me hope.”