Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Woman sues hospital after newborn death: Baby suffocated in bed after breastfeeding

Woman sues hospital after newborn death: Baby suffocated in bed after breastfeeding

A first-time mom accidentally smothered her newborn son after a nurse put him in the hospital bed with her to breastfeed while she was "groggy" from her c-section and on two strong pain medications.

Oregon Live reports that Monica Thompson, 42, gave birth to her son Jacob in on August 2, 2012 at the Portland Adventist Medical Center. Three days after his birth, he was taken to a nursery so his mother could rest and be discharged.

On the night of August 6, a nurse gave Thompson the baby at around 3am for breastfeeding and left the new mum unsupervised. The suit states that about an hour later, Monica Thompson was "still drowsy and groggy" when she realized her son wasn't moving.

"She called for a nurse while she tried to get him to respond", her lawyer wrote.

"She poked him and talked to him with no reaction", reads the lawsuit. The lawsuit says no nurse immediately came to help; so, Thompson carried her son into the hallway, where she got the attention of a nurse. 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.

A spokesperson for the hospital said they can not comment on an ongoing lawsuit.

Thompson's $8 million lawsuit against the Portland hospital also maintains the staff "directly caused her severe emotional distress, severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety and prolonged grief disorder".

"Jacob was a true miracle baby". She says she was heavily medicated with painkillers and sleep aids and fell asleep, OregonLive reports.

Kristi Spurgeon Johnson, a spokeswoman for Portland Adventist Medical Center, said Wednesday she couldn't comment on the lawsuit until the hospital has had a chance to review it.

Ms Thompson is now suing the Portland hospital for $US 8.6 million ($10.9m AUD), claiming that it is at fault for the death of the infant.

After six days, doctors told the parents the baby's comatose state was irreversible. "Mrs. Thompson tried to stimulate her son's suckling reflexes without success".

It was almost midnight one Sunday in the summer of 2012 when Thompson, who had undergone a Caesarean section a few days earlier, was given a cocktail of narcotic painkillers and sleep aids.

Tragically Jacob's death came after the Thompsons struggled with infertility for 12 years before they became pregnant with Jacob in 2012.

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.

The lawsuit paints a disturbing picture of the mother trying to rouse her baby.

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