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When Caregivers Harm / Veronica Glaubach

Lives ruined--and worse

Joy over a birth turns to tragedy

July 12, 2009

Veronica Glaubach told her father to wait until the week after she gave birth before flying to California from Buenos Aires to meet the baby. When the infant was a day old, however, Roberto Glaubach was told to come immediately.

Veronica was brain-dead.

The cause of her 2002 death was complications from pre-eclampsia, a relatively common condition in pregnancy that can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Roberto Glaubach has spent years and more than $100,000 seeking to hold someone responsible. He has made 20 trips to California and sent letter after letter. In one missive to the state Board of Registered Nursing, he attached Veronica's photo: "The face of a human being who some irresponsible and little-prepared nurses killed at 28 years of age," he wrote.

In 2005, state hospital regulators faulted three nurses for not telling doctors of Veronica's high blood pressure or assessing her for pre-eclampsia. Glaubach also obtained a $550,000 legal settlement for his granddaughter after suing the hospital and two doctors.

Five years after Veronica's death, the nursing board weighed in, saying in a letter to Glaubach that an outside expert found the treatment "within the standards of care" under state law.

"The board appreciates the profound depth of your loss. However, any further review of this matter would not result in a different opinion."

"I was astonished," Glaubach said. "My loss is for the rest of my life."

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