A new mother who accidentally smothered her 4-day-old baby in a hospital bed has filed an $8.6 million lawsuit against Portland Adventist Medical Center.
Monica Thompson faults the Southeast Portland hospital for putting her newborn, Jacob, in bed with her in middle of the night so she could breastfeed him while she was unsupervised and heavily medicated with painkillers and sleep aids.
Thompson dozed off, then awoke to find that Jacob wasn’t breathing on Aug. 6, 2012, according to the lawsuit filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Jacob suffered catastrophic brain damage, and his parents removed him from life support six days later after doctors told them that his comatose state was irreversible.
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. She also declined comment about the hospital’s policies about newborns sharing beds with mothers.
The suit highlights a grave area of concern in pediatrics: parents sleeping in the same beds with their children, including mothers sharing hospital beds with their newborns.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in 2011 against bed-sharing. A 2014 study in the Journal of Perinatology catalogued the deaths of 15 healthy infants while sharing beds with their mothers in U.S. maternity wards.
Jacob was the first child of Monica and Graham Thompson. He was born by Caesarean section on Aug. 2, 2012, according to the suit.
Monica Thompson was medicated with Ambien and Vicodin a few hours before a nurse walked into Thompson’s room, gave her the baby and left around 3 a.m. on Aug. 6, 2012, according to the suit. 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,” the suit states. “… She poked him and talked to him with no…