Mother Who Suffocated Her Newborn In Maternity Ward Is Suing Hospital

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Monica Thompson had given birth to her first child, a baby boy named Jacob, and was almost ready to take him home from the hospital.

Thompson, who had undergone a Caesarean section a few days earlier, was given a cocktail of narcotic painkillers and sleep aids to get some rest.

A nurse took the baby to his mother for breastfeeding and put the child next to her in her hospital bed at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore.

About an hour later, Thompson, “still drowsy and groggy,” realized that her son, Jacob, was not moving.

A lawsuit has now been filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court in which Thompson’s attorneys describe how she tried to wake her unresponsive child, who had been born just 4 days earlier:

Thompson called for a nurse while she tried on her own to help him. She touched his eyes, poked his body, talked to him to try to get him to wake up.

When no nurse came to help, Mrs. Thompson carried her son to the hallway and frantically yelled for help,” according to the lawsuit. “A nurse noticed the situation, examined Jacob and called a Code Blue.”

Jacob was not breathing. Once he was stabilized, the baby was placed on life support and transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at nearby Randall Children’s Hospital.

Six days later, he died.

Thompson “unintentionally suffocated her baby boy, causing him severe and permanent brain damage,” says the lawsuit.

Doctors determined that he had gone without oxygen too long, suffering severe and permanent brain damage.

Thompson is suing Adventist Medical Center for negligence. which the lawsuit says caused Jacob pain and suffering.The lawsuit, which seeks over $8 million, says that the incident also caused Thompson emotional distress.

Thompson now has a daughter but Thompson said in a statement that “Jacob was a true miracle baby. My firstborn and only son. I am sharing our story in the hopes that no mother or family will ever have to suffer through a preventable tragedy such as this.”

The lawyer, Diego Conde, says the death was “senseless” and said in a statement that “a hospital doesn’t get to load a breast-feeding mother with narcotics and sleep aids, drop a newborn child on the same bed to breast-feed, and abandon them to their luck.”

Portland Adventist Medical Center spokeswoman Kristi Spurgeon Johnson called it a “tragic situation” and said that “our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family.”

Although mothers and family members may be educated about the avoidance of bed-sharing, falling asleep while breastfeeding or holding the newborn during SSC is common.

Staff should educate support persons and/or be immediately available to safely place newborns on a close but separate sleep surface while mothers fall asleep.

At this stage, the American Academy of Pediatrics said it cannot make recommendations on “in-bed sleepers” until further research is available.

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