NJ doc once accused of pretending to be good Samaritan sued over botched birth – Jaweb

NJ doc once accused of pretending to be good Samaritan sued over botched birth

A New Jersey doctor once accused of pretending to be a good Samaritan after crashing into a pregnant woman is now being sued over an alleged botched birth that left a mom severely brain-damaged. 

Anesthesiologist Selvia Zaklama, 67, was part of a medical team at Hoboken University Medical Center in July whose alleged “negligence and reckless behavior’’ left the 28-year-old mom barely able to move or speak after delivery, according to a Hudson County lawsuit.

Dr. Zaklama previously made headlines in 1999 when she was accused of striking another pregnant woman with her 1985 dark blue Mercedes in Jersey City, NJ — then posing as just a concerned passer-by rushing to the ailing mom-to-be’s aid.

“I don’t exactly know why she’s still practicing,’’  the victim of the crash, Yolanda Rios, told The Post.

Zaklama is accused in the superior-court lawsuit of improperly administering anesthesia and failing to appropriately treat Estefania Mesa during the woman’s emergency C-section in July.  

While in labor, the first-time mom stopped breathing, her blood pressure dropped, and she went into cardiac arrest, says the suit, filed Dec. 31, 2020, by her partner.

It took 10 minutes for the medical team to call a code, and doctors botched Mesa’s resuscitation by failing to follow the prescribed American Heart Association guidelines, the suit says.

Mesa’s heart was restarted 16 minutes after she stopped breathing, the papers say. Meanwhile, there was no defibrillator used, the document alleges.

Mesa’s baby girl, Emma, is “doing well,’’ but her mom remains in a minimally conscious state at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in Saddle Brook, NJ, the suit says.

“Estefania’s once bright future as a mother and plans to marry her life partner were obliterated by the combined negligence and reckless conduct by the defendant’s in this lawsuit,” the lawsuit claims.

Zaklama is the only doctor identified in the suit, which also targets another female physician and a male one, as well as two male nurses and two female RNs and the hospital.

Mesa’s partner, Eduardo Argueta, told The Post he was shocked to learn of the doctor’s alleged history.

“I wouldn’t even let her go in the [operating] room if I had known,’’ he said.

At the time of the 1998 alleged hit-run, Zaklama did stop and even drove the 36-year-old woman she injured, Rios, to the hospital, authorities said.  

Zaklama was soon hailed as a good Samaritan hero who stayed in the operating room for her victim’s emergency surgery, authorities and officials said.

Rios — who was seven months pregnant and suffered a broken leg and other injuries in the crash — lost her baby.

Authorities later said Zaklama was the one who actually struck Rios — and that they only learned about it after witnesses identified her car as the crash vehicle. Prosecutors claimed that before then, the doctor had been peddling a tale that she found Rios in the street, the Jersey Journal reported.

The doctor was charged with obstructing government function, hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence and received summonses careless driving and failure to report an accident.

She was indicted on charges of tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and hindering apprehension in 1999, the Journal said. But her record has since been expunged, meaning the case against her erased, Jersey City officials told The Post.

The Post’s attempts to reach Zaklama by phone were unsuccessful. A man who answered the phone at a number believed to be her son’s only identified himself as a relative and said he would pass along the message to her seeking comment.

Carepoint Health Hoboken University Medical Center declined comment to The Post.

“How does a hospital hire someone like this and give them the access to treating patients in a maternity environment where two lives are at stake,”  Mesa’s lawyer, Samuel Davis, told The Post.

“[Zaklama] has a history of deliberately concealing facts that would make her culpable of badly injuring a woman and causing her to lose a baby and in this case of causing a baby to lose her mom.”

NJ doc once accused of pretending to be good Samaritan sued over botched birth Wire Services/ New York Post.


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