Woman sues hospital after she accidentally suffocates her newborn

Henrietta Strickland
August 11, 2017

A new mother who accidentally smothered her 4-day-old baby in a hospital bed has filed an $8.6 million lawsuit against Portland Adventist Medical Center.

Earlier that night she had been given "narcotic painkillers and sleep aids" by nurses at the Portland Adventist Medical Center in the state of OR, her lawsuit states. According to the lawsuit, Thompson claimed she was "still drowsy and groggy" when nurses brought the infant to her hospital room. Jacob had suffered brain damage due to lack of oxygen and his parents had to turn off his life support because he was in an irreversible comatose state.

Monica Thompson claims the Portland Adventist Medical Center staff placed her newborn, Jacob, in bed with her so she could breastfeed him in the middle of the night, and left her unsupervised while she was heavily medicated with sleep aids and painkillers, The Oregonian reported. She also refused to speak on the hospital's policies regarding newborns sharing beds with their mothers.

But the Adventist Health website features "Health Tip" posts about keeping newborns safe, including one tip that reads "child care experts say it's risky for infants to sleep in the same bed with their parents".

The American Academy of Pediatrics says babies should never share a bed with parents, and no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items should be in a baby's bed. A 2014 study in the Journal of Perinatology catalogued the deaths of 15 healthy infants while sharing beds with their mothers in USA maternity wards.

People wrote that the Jacob Thompson was born after Monica and Graham Thompson battled infertility for 12 years.

"Jacob was a true miracle baby", Monica Thompson said in a statement provided to CNN by her lawyer. When the OR mom awoke about an hour later, she found her son still in her arms but unresponsive.

"She called for a nurse while she tried to get him to respond", the suit says.

Her lawsuit also alleges that doctors broke Jacob's ribs while performing CPR on him causing him "substantial pain". Monica Thompson then got out of her bed and walked into the hallway, her limp baby still in her arms, and "frantically" begged for help, according to court documents. He was put on life support and transferred to Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

Thompson's suit is seeking damages for the child's "desperation and anxiety" as he was suffocated, and for the mother's "severe emotional distress upon unintentionally killing her firstborn child".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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