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Mom Sues Hospital After Accidentally Suffocating Her Newborn Son

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A woman in Oregon filed a lawsuit against the hospital where she gave birth after her son died from being smothered at four days old.

Monica Thompson is suing the Portland Adventist Medical Center for $8.6 million, claiming that the hospital is to blame for her child’s death in August 2012, CBS reports. She says the newborn, Jacob, was put in her bed at night so he could breastfeed, but she was unsupervised and medicated with painkillers.

According to Thompson, she fell asleep and when she woke up, her son was no longer breathing. She was given Ambien and Vicodin a few hours before, and a nurse came into the room sometime in the middle of the night, left her baby with her and exited the room.

The lawsuit says,

She called for a nurse while she tried to get him to respond. 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.

Thompson describes feeling “still drowsy and groggy” from her medication at the time.

The baby suffered brain damage, and had to be taken off life support at 10 days old after doctors diagnosed that he would not improve from his comatose state.

Kristi Spurgeon Johnson, spokesperson for the hospital, declined to comment, saying that the hospital has not reviewed the lawsuit yet. She also refused to speak on the hospital’s policies regarding newborns sharing beds with their mothers.

Thompson’s suit is seeking damages for the child’s “desperation and anxiety” as he was suffocated, and for the mother’s “severe emotional distress upon unintentionally killing her firstborn child.” In addition, the suit is asking for recompense for Thompson’s counseling expenses for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

She said in a statement through her lawyer, “I am sharing our story in the hopes that no mother or family will ever have to suffer through a preventable tragedy such as this. What happened to us could have easily been prevented had the nurses been doing their job.”

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