Mom Sues Hospital for $8.6 Million After Accidentally Suffocating Baby

A new mother has filed an $8.6 million lawsuit against an Oregon hospital after she accidentally smothered her 4-day-old baby in a hospital bed.

Monica Thompson claims the Portland Adventist Medical Center staff placed her newborn, Jacob, in bed with her so she could breastfeed him in the middle of the night, and left her unsupervised while she was heavily medicated with sleep aids and painkillers, 

She fell asleep and later woke up to discover that Jacob was not breathing on Aug. 6, 2012, according to Thompson’s lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The newborn had suffered extensive brain damage, and his parents removed him from life support six days later — when he was 10 days old — after doctors said his comatose state was irreparable.

A nurse walked into Monica Thompson’s room, gave her the baby and left her unattended around 3 a.m., while she was medicated with Ambien and Vicodin, the lawsuit says. About an hour later, the new mother was “still drowsy and groggy” when she noticed her son was not moving.

“She called for a nurse while she tried to get him to respond,” the suit says. “She poked him and talked to him with no reaction. When no nurse came to help, Mrs. Thompson carried her son to the hallway and frantically yelled for help.”

The lawsuit seeks $8.6 million in damages for the baby’s “desperation and anxiety” caused by his suffocation, along with his mother’s “severe emotional distress upon unintentionally killing her firstborn child.”

Thompson also seeks compensation for her counseling expenses related to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, the suit says.

Portland Adventist Medical Center spokeswoman Kristi Spurgeon Johnson said she could not comment on the lawsuit until the hospital reviews it. She also declined to comment on the hospital’s policy regarding newborns sharing beds with their mothers, per The Oregonian’s report.

Jacob Thompson was born by Caesarean section on Aug. 2, 2012, according to the lawsuit. He was the first child of Monica and Graham Thompson.

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