California mom claiming emergency C-section was administered without anesthesia given $25 gift card as apology, fiancé says

A California mom who is suing her hospital for allegedly performing an anesthesia-free C-section says she was terrified when doctors sliced her open during the emergency procedure.

“I was crying because I was scared, I didn’t know what was going on. I was laying there and [obstetrician Dr. Sandra Lopez] was like, ‘We have to just do it,’” Delfina Mota, 26, told People.

“That’s when I felt them cut me open. Nurses were holding me down … I could feel her cutting me and, with her hands, opening me. That’s when I passed out.”


Mota filed a lawsuit against her doctors and the Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside where she gave birth on July 13, alleging that the hospital and staff were careless and negligent in not administering anything to numb the pain of the emergency C-section.

According to her lawsuit, which was first obtained by NBC7, Mota and her fiancé, Paul Iheanachor, arrived at Tri-City Medical Center in Nov. 15, 2017, for the birth of their daughter and requested an epidural before a planned vaginal delivery.

Mota contends that Dr. Sandra Lopez oversaw her care, and that Dr. David Seif administered the epidural to numb her from the waist down. She also says she was given Pitocin to help advance her labor.

However, on Nov. 16, it was determined that Mota’s blood pressure dropped and that the baby’s heart rate was difficult to read, prompting Lopez to call for an emergency C-section, in which the baby is taken out through the mother’s abdomen.

Her lawsuit claims that Seif was paged multiple times, but did not respond, so nine minutes later, “the C-Section was performed by Defendant Sandra Lopez, M.D.” without anesthesia. Mota claims Lopez instructed staff to “strap her down” to the operating table before cutting her open.


Eight months later, Iheanachor tells People he can still remember the “most horrific screams you could ever imagine” coming from the delivery room.

“But there was a nurse outside the door and she prevented me from going in. All I kept saying is, ‘I know you guys didn’t cut her without any anesthesia,’” he told the outlet.

Iheanachor also claims the hospital tried to “smooth it over” by offering them a $25 gift card to the gift shop, as well as a double room. “They said, ‘Sorry for what happened, here’s a gift certificate.’ I feel like it was damage control. We were just in shock.”

The couple’s newborn, Cali Iheanachor, did not suffer any complications as a result of the C-section, but Mota’s lawsuit says she suffered permanent and significant injuries and emotional distress as a result.

“I still don’t feel like myself. It’s something traumatic. I’m scared now to have another baby,” Mota told People, adding that it was hard for her to “Feel connected” to her newborn while suffering from her post-surgery trauma.

The Tri-City Medical Center, meanwhile, has released a statement to the San Diego Union-Tribune dismissing Mota’s claims as an “outrageous allegation,” and further stating that she was administered anesthesia.

“While we normally don’t comment on pending litigation, the patient’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 statement reads.

Mota and Iheanachor are seeking upwards of $5 million in damages.

Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.