Mom suing nurse after suffocation accident

  1. This Mother Is Suing a Hospital for Millions After She Accidentally Killed Her Son

    A mother in Oregon is suing Portland Adventist Medical Center for $8.6 million after she accidentally smothered her four-day-old baby in a hospital bed.

    Monica Thompson says that, a few days after her son Jacob was born in August 2012, the hospital put her newborn in bed with her so she could breastfeed him. But Thompson says in the lawsuit that the baby was put there in the middle of the night, while she was heavily medicated. Thompson drifted off, and when she woke up, Jacob was unresponsive...

    Thompson, who is suing both the hospital and the individual nurse involved in the incident, said she was “still drowsy and groggy” from her medication when she realized her son was not moving, her lawsuit states. The suit says Thompson called for a nurse, and when none came, she “carried her son to the hallway and frantically yelled for help.”
    Last edit by Brian S. on Aug 16
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  2. 147 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    I'm wondering why it took her five years to file the suit.
  4. by   That Guy
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    I'm wondering why it took her five years to file the suit.
    didn't need money until now.
  5. by   macawake
    Losing a child is such an unimaginable tragedy and my heart goes out to any parent who has had to experience such a devastating loss.

    I can definitely understand suing if you want to have someone accept responsibility/accountability and to acknowledge wrongdoing (if it took place) and I can also understand wanting to be compensated for the of cost bereavement counselling, loss of wages due to being unable to work during a period of time and for other necessary care/support that follows in the wake of such a tragedy. However seeing that someone is suing for almost double-digit millions (which is an insane amount of money) makes me glad that I live and work in a country where healthcare professionals aren't sued. Here, a patient can definitely report licensed healthcare professionals to the licensing and oversight authority but you can't sue or be sued for zillions.

    I can't help it, when I hear of cases similar to this one, the large amount of money makes it seem slightly mercenary to me. You can't assign a dollar value to a human life and attempting to do so in fact has the opposite effect on me. To me, it devalues life when it's viewed in terms of a windfall.

    What makes it even more unappealing to me is that if I understand this correctly, a rather large percentage of a potential settlement goes to the lawyers? If I got that part right, it serves as a powerful incentive to file even more big $ law suits (compared to if the legal team were paid a more modest fixed fee).

    On a societal scale, the prevalence of law suits in the healthcare industry is bound to ultimately increase the cost of healthcare. I think it's quite unfortunate. Frankly, I think it's a sick system.
  6. by   klone
    I am the manager of an OB department in Oregon. I'm wondering what effect this litigation will have on our practices. Are we going to require moms to get up out of bed and sit in a chair every time they need to feed their baby? Will a nurse have to sit in the room with the mom the entire time she's holding her baby unless another adult is there? What effect is this going to have on patient satisfaction? On breastfeeding, and mother-infant bonding?
  7. by   SaltySarcasticSally
    Hmmm I don't work in L&D so I don't know what the rules are surrounding mom being on pain meds and holding baby especially in the middle of the night.
    I've had 3 kids, after the third my post partum pain from my uterus contracting down was awful and the nurse offered me pain meds. She was super cautious about leaving the baby with me once it kicked in because I'm quite the lightweight and it hit me hard. She only left the baby because my husband was there 24/7 and took over.
    I wonder if there are such policies in place...it's such a tragic incident...as a mom I really feel for this patient but as a nurse I feel like there is more to the story as well.
  8. by   klone
    Quote from SaltySarcasticSally
    but as a nurse I feel like there is more to the story as well.
    Honestly, I don't think there is more to the story. I think it's exactly how it happened - nurse brought baby in to nurse, mom fell asleep because of narcotics and Ambien, and suffocated her baby.

    While we do not routinely give sleep aids to women postpartum, once in a while we have. And all postpartum women are ordered narcotic pain medications - we give that out every 4 hours round the clock.
  9. by   Zyprexa
    Quote from klone
    Honestly, I don't think there is more to the story. I think it's exactly how it happened - nurse brought baby in to nurse, mom fell asleep because of narcotics and Ambien, and suffocated her baby.

    While we do not routinely give sleep aids to women postpartum, once in a while we have. And all postpartum women are ordered narcotic pain medications - we give that out every 4 hours round the clock.
    That was my first thought as well. Mom kills baby, later blames nurse and sues because she needs cash. People are terrible like that.

    Also, why are postpartum moms getting narcotics around the clock??? I get that labor is painful, but can people not tolerate pain anymore or something? Give mom some tylenol and a heating pad.
  10. by   Scottishtape
    Wow. What a horrible thing to happen. My heart goes out to the mother, for sure.

    As far as the length of time it's taken her to file suit, I imagine there was a significant grieving period. From there, I would I think the process of putting together this kind of suit would take awhile. Thankfully, it's never happened to me before, so that's pure conjecture.

    I've breastfed my babies while on pain meds in the hospital, but I've never fallen asleep.

    I do question the actions of the nurse. This woman was not only on pain meds, but a sleep aid as well. I feel like the nurse should have paid closer attention considering the combination and recognized this kind of thing could happen.

    I don't work OB, so this is just my gut reaction. I don't know if this is a common occurrence. I've never been on a sleep aid after any of my births, so..
  11. by   Sour Lemon
    Where was the father of the baby? I was groggy after my c-sections, but my husband was nearby monitoring and assisting until I was "up and about". I wouldn't have expected the nurse to hang out in my room all night.
  12. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from macawake
    Losing a child is such an unimaginable tragedy and my heart goes out to any parent who has had to experience such a devastating loss.

    I can definitely understand suing if you want to have someone accept responsibility/accountability and to acknowledge wrongdoing (if it took place) and I can also understand wanting to be compensated for the of cost bereavement counselling, loss of wages due to being unable to work during a period of time and for other necessary care/support that follows in the wake of such a tragedy. However seeing that someone is suing for almost double-digit millions (which is an insane amount of money) makes me glad that I live and work in a country where healthcare professionals aren't sued. Here, a patient can definitely report licensed healthcare professionals to the licensing and oversight authority but you can't sue or be sued for zillions.

    I can't help it, when I hear of cases similar to this one, the large amount of money makes it seem slightly mercenary to me. You can't assign a dollar value to a human life and attempting to do so in fact has the opposite effect on me. To me, it devalues life when it's viewed in terms of a windfall.

    What makes it even more unappealing to me is that if I understand this correctly, a rather large percentage of a potential settlement goes to the lawyers? If I got that part right, it serves as a powerful incentive to file even more big $ law suits (compared to if the legal team were paid a more modest fixed fee).

    On a societal scale, the prevalence of law suits in the healthcare industry is bound to ultimately increase the cost of healthcare. I think it's quite unfortunate. Frankly, I think it's a sick system.
    This is one of the biggest drivers of the cost of healthcare in the US and the ACA does nothing to address it. I'm not sure if any of the more recent proposals address this either.
  13. by   mkk99
    Quote from klone
    While we do not routinely give sleep aids to women postpartum, once in a while we have. And all postpartum women are ordered narcotic pain medications - we give that out every 4 hours round the clock.
    That's going to be a hospital-specific policy - I do not routinely order narcotics for vaginal deliveries.
  14. by   Here.I.Stand
    Quote from Zyprexa
    That was my first thought as well. Mom kills baby, later blames nurse and sues because she needs cash. People are terrible like that.

    Also, why are postpartum moms getting narcotics around the clock??? I get that labor is painful, but can people not tolerate pain anymore or something? Give mom some tylenol and a heating pad.
    Off topic, but I have been sent HOME with oxy after babies #2-5. I had more pain postpartum than during stage 1 labor, to the point where I was nauseated and near tears -- especially when baby fed. CNM for baby #2 said my uterus was involuting (is that a word?) faster than usual, and subsequent babies hurt more anyway. I do have a reasonable pain tolerance; in fact I was unmedicated during labor with all except #4 -- including #1 whose labor was induced.

    So yeah speaking for myself, I really couldn't tolerate the pain. In my defense, I clock-watched for my prn ibuprofen too.

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