Mother sues Portland hospital after she accidentally smothered her baby

Mother sues Portland hospital after she accidentally smothered her baby

A United States mother who accidentally smothered her newborn son as she slept is suing the hospital where his death occurred for $8.6m (£6.6m).

The suit alleges a nurse at Portland (Ore.) Adventist Medical Center took Ms. Thompson's baby, Jacob, from the hospital's nursery to Ms. Thompson's room for breastfeeding around 3 a.m. on August 6, 2012. Three days after his birth, he was taken to a nursery so his mother could rest and be discharged.

A nurse walked into Monica Thompson's room, gave her the baby and left her unattended around 3 a.m., while she was medicated with Ambien and Vicodin, the lawsuit says.

Thompson said she dozed off on the August 2012 night and woke up to find her son not breathing.

According to court documents, Thompson's attorney maintained she was given a combination of sleeping aids and painkillers to allow her to get some sleep three days after she gave birth to baby Jacob. When no one responded, she carried her baby out into the hospital corridor and yelled for assistance.

The new mum tried to get a response from her son before frantically calling for a nurse. ". She poked him and talked to him with no reaction".

Jacob was placed on life support and was pronounced dead at ten days old. He was transferred to the NICU of a different hospital and spent six days on life support before Thompson and her husband, Graham, made the hard decision to terminate his life support at the recommendation of doctors, the complaint notes.

A hospital spokesperson has declined to comment on the incident and the lawsuit. Staff can educate support persons and/or be immediately available to safely place newborns on a close but separate sleep surface when mothers fall asleep.

Doctors say that new mothers should try over the counter painkillers first if they wish to continue breastfeeding.

The family's lawyer, Diego Conde, explained to People that it took several years for the couple to file the lawsuit, because they needed the time to recover emotionally. "His inability to breathe caused him desperation and anxiety".

The suit also says that when the doctors performed CPR on Jacob, they broke his ribs which can "cause substantial pain". "His pulse was weak or absent". Her suit alleges that the death was preventable and that she should have never been left alone in her condition with the newborn child.

Mrs Thompson believes the hospital owes his estate $3million in damages as a result.

The lawsuit also contends the hospital "directly caused her severe emotional distress, severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety and prolonged grief disorder".

She is asking for an additional $100,000 to pay for medical and counselling expenses. "Adventist Medical Center is committed to providing quality, compassionate care to all of our patients".

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