Newborn child suffocates to death in hospital bed, mother sues nurse

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An Oregon mother is suing Portland Adventist Medical Center for negligence after her newborn son was smothered in her hospital bed.

In a lawsuit filed last week, Monica Thompson said a nurse brought her son Jacob to her hospital bed for breastfeeding on Aug. 6, 2012. The nurse placed the newborn next to Thompson in the bed and left them unattended. About three hours prior, Thompson, who had a Caesarean section, was given narcotic painkillers and sleep aids, the suit says.

An hour later, Thompson noticed Jacob wasn’t responsive and called for a nurse. The suit says no nurse immediately came to her aid, so Thompson ran into the hallway carrying her son to seek medical help.

The newborn child wasn’t breathing and was placed on life support. Doctors determined he suffered “severe hypoxia” or oxygen deficiency, and that “his brain was severely and permanently damaged.” The parents accepted the doctors’ recommendation to terminate life support. Jacob, who was Monica’s first child, died on Aug. 12, 2012. He was only 10-days old.

The suit seeks more than $8 million for the baby’s distress, Thompson’s emotional distress and counseling.

Portland Adventist Medical Center said in a statement: “This was a tragic event and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family, Adventist Medical Center is committed to providing quality, compassionate care to all of our patients. We are reviewing the claims being made and we are unable to provide any additional information at this time.”

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. Adventist Health has also shared this message, noting bed-sharing is linked with sleep-related deaths in babies in an advisory earlier this year.

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