Hospital Sued After Mother Accidentally Smothers Her Newborn


A mother from Oregon is suing a Portland hospital for negligence after she accidentally smothered her 4-day-old baby. Apart from the death of her son, she is suing the hospital for the resulting trauma she experienced due to the accident.

Accidental Death

On Aug. 2, 2012, Monica and Graham Thompson welcomed their first child Jacob into the world at Portland Adventist Medical Center. A few days after delivering him via caesarean section, they were mourning over his death.

According to the lawsuit filed by Monica Thompson, on Aug. 5 at about three in the morning, a nurse placed Jacob in the room with her to breastfeed while she was still heavily medicated and groggy. When she woke up, the baby was already unresponsive in her arms.

When nurses failed to come to her aid, the lawsuit states that Thompson carried her child into the hallway where she yelled for help.

As a result of the incident, Jacob suffered major brain damage and was placed on life support at Randall Children's Hospital for a few days before doctors told the couple that his comatose was already irreversible. They decided to pull the plug on his life support when he was just 10 days old.

Hospital Policy

One of the hospital's health tips on its official website states that it is dangerous for infants and parents to share a bed, stating that "bed-sharing is linked with sleep-related deaths in babies." It is a sentiment which American Academy of Paediatrics agrees with.

However, a spokesperson for the hospital, Kristi Spurgeon Johnson, declined to comment on the lawsuit, as well as the hospital's policy about mothers and new-born babies sharing beds.

Traumatic Experience

As a result of the accidental death of her son, Monica Thompson filed the lawsuit at Multnomah County Circuit Court. The lawsuit seeks $8.6 million in damages for Jacob's death, counseling, and medical expenses incurred from the depression and post-traumatic stress disorder that Monica experienced after the death of Jacob.

Baby Box Trend

Parents across the United States have been following the footsteps of Finnish parents of late in order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is related to suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment among very young infants.

The baby box trend that is spreading across the country essentially offers expecting parents baby essentials such as clothes and fitted sheets, a safe and sturdy box for infants to sleep in for the first few months of their lives when they are most fragile, as well as education about using the box as a safe sleeping space for their infants.

New Jersey and Ohio have officially adopted the universal baby box program, and some hospitals in Texas and Philadelphia are also following the trend.

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