A Chinese man and his children have won more than $5 million in court after his wife died in an Orange County hospital when her obstetrician allegedly abandoned her amid complications after a C-section.
A jury on Monday awarded Yuanda Hong and his two children about $2 million in their civil suit against obstetrician Long-Dei Liu for 26-year-old Ling Nie's death March 14, 2014.
Court records indicate the family reached a $3.2-million settlement with Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center, where Nie was treated, in July.
Nie had arrived in Orange County after she and Hong shopped online for the best place to have a baby in the United States, said their attorney, Neil Howard.
The practice of pregnant women traveling to the United States, usually on tourist visas, so their children will be born U.S. citizens is sometimes called maternity tourism. In Southern California, such women often live with other expectant mothers in suburban homes while waiting to deliver.
It's particularly popular with wealthy women from China.
Many agencies openly advertise services offering assistance in getting newborns a U.S. passport and extolling the benefits that come with American citizenship, including public education and immigration benefits for parents. It is illegal for tourists to lie about their reason for visiting the U.S.
Lie and Hong were high school sweethearts, Howard said. Hong is an architect and Lie was an executive for a large developer. A friend of the family referred them to Liu, he said. They were staying in Irvine when Lie went in for a scheduled C-section.
But after the procedure on March 9, 2014, Nie suffered complications.
After the procedure, Nie's uterus began to bleed profusely. After Liu treated her for a few hours and provided her with several units of blood, the doctor transferred Nie to the intensive care unit for monitoring.
Liu stopped the bleeding then went home, according to his attorney, Robert Donohue. Hong's suit maintains the young mother was not in stable condition when he left.
Hours later, Nie's condition worsened and she essentially bled to death, Donohue said. She was taken off life support three days later. Liu's attorney blamed the nurses in the intensive care unit.
The jury actually awarded the Hong family about $9 million but only found Liu was responsible for 25% of that share and the hospital for the rest, Donohue said. The family will not see the remainder of that award because the family already settled with the hospital, he said.
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