An Oregon woman who accidentally suffocated her newborn baby boy is suing the hospital in which the tragic incident occurred.

Monica Thompson gave birth to her baby in August 2012. Thompson claims that just four days after undergoing a Caesarean section to deliver her son, she was given a cocktail of narcotic painkillers and sleep aids and at the same time, a nurse took the newborn to his mother for breast feeding.

Image credit: Independent
Image credit: Independent

However, she fell asleep with her baby next to her and accidentally suffocated him. Now, she’s suing Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, and the nurse for $8.6 million in compensation for the accident.

Mother was given narcotics and sleep aids and nurse handed the baby to her

According to the file suit, the baby had been taken to a nursery late on August 5, 2012, so the mother could rest before being discharged, and she was given the cocktail of narcotic painkillers and sleep aids.  Around 3 a.m. the nurse –identified in the lawsuit as Nurse X– took the newborn to Thompson and put the baby next to her for breastfeeding, and “left the room and left the mother and son unattended.”

An hour later, Thompson, who was still “drowsy and groggy,” realized that her baby boy, Jacob, was not moving. She called for a nurse and tried to help him by touching him and poking his body.

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

Jacob was not breathing, but the medical team was able to stabilize him and placed him on life support. The baby was then transferred to the neonatal care unit at nearby Randall Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, Jacob passed away six days later.

The lawsuit claims the mother “unintentionally suffocated her baby boy, causing severe and permanent brain damage.” When the baby died, doctors determined that he suffered “severe hypoxia,” as Jacob had gone without oxygen for too long, suffering severe and permanent brain damage.

‘Jacob was a true miracle boy’

The lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, and according to Thompson’s lawyers, she’s suing the hospital and the nurse who left her drowsy with Jacob for $8.6 million. She is asking for a jury trial.

The court documents also state that the incident caused Thompson “severe emotional distress upon unintentionally killing her firstborn child.” The lawsuit also seeks compensation for Thompson’s counseling expenses for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Thompson family. Image credit: Facebook / Yahoo!
The Thompson family. Image credit: Facebook / Yahoo!

“A hospital doesn’t get to load a breastfeeding mother with narcotics and sleep aids, drop a newborn child on the same bed to breastfeed, and abandon them to their luck,” said Diego Conde, Thompson’s attorney, according to CNN. “It is senseless.”

Conde said that Thompson now has a daughter, but Jacob was her “miracle baby.”

“Jacob was a true miracle baby,” said Thompson in a statement. “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.”

Portland Adventist Medical Center spokeswoman Kristi Spurgeon Johnson called the situation “tragic” and added that their thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Thompsons.

Johnson also said in a statement that Adventist Medical Center is committed to providing quality, compassionate care to all of their patients and that the hospital is reviewing the claims being made. She said they were unable to provide any additional information at the time.

AAP recommends taking several measures to prevent risks of SIDS

The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that about 3,500 babies die each year in the United States due to unsafe sleep environments, such as strangulation or suffocation, or from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Doctors say newborns who share a bed with their parents are at risk of dying because parents can roll on top of them, or the babies can get trapped in blankets or sheets.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are put to sleep on their back for every sleep, whether it’s a nap or at night time. They also recommend placing babies to sleep on a firm sleep surface, keeping soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the crib.

They also recommend placing babies in the same room where the parents sleep but not the same bed, breastfeeding as much and as for long as mothers can (reduces risks of SIDS), keeping babies away from smokers and places where people smoke, and keeping the baby at comfortable temperatures as hot temperatures increase the risk of SIDS.

Source: CNN