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My patient dropped her baby!

Ob/Gyn   (21,536 Views | 58 Replies)

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I took care of a patient today who was post op day one still on a PCA. I went in this morning and said hi. We chatted for a minute because her older daughter was the same age as my daughter. Then she asked for her baby from the nursery. I had someone bring her the baby. Then I continued on my rounds.

About 45 minutes later I heard a cry from the hallway. I ran into the room and the patient was hysterically crying holding her baby. She was crying, "They left me alone! Why did they leave me alone?" She said she was sitting in the chair holding the baby when she suddenly dozed off and the baby rolled onto the floor. I grabbed the baby and brought her to the nursery.

The baby was fine but when the patient's husband showed up he was ******. He said, "How could you leave her in the room alone with the baby? She was on morphine. She can't take care of the baby by herself." He made a big stink about it. Supervisors were involved. I was up to my knees in paperwork. Now the nurses are starting to question non-separation. But have you ever had a mother drop her baby on postpartum? Who's ultimately responsible when a postpartum mother drops her baby?

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cayenne06 has 10 years experience as a MSN, CNM and specializes in Reproductive & Public Health.

1,394 Posts; 18,685 Profile Views

When you rounded on the mother earlier, what was your assessment of her ability to safely handle her baby? Had she received education about how to safely care for the baby? Ultimately, we are responsible for the well being of our patients. Accidents happen, even when we do our due diligence with assessment, education, safety precautions etc etc. Accepting responsibility for an incident is not the same as saying that it was your fault. I have no idea if you are somehow at fault in this situation, but I do think it is important to accept responsibility for patient outcomes. An extreme example- I had a cord prolapse about a month ago. A very bad outcome, despite our best efforts. Of course in hindsight there are things I would do differently, but peer review and personal reflection both agree that I did everything I could have done. By taking on a patient, I assume responsibility for their well being. I cannot always protect them from a bad outcome, but I still assume responsibility because every less-than-optimal outcome is an opportunity to critically examine your practices and identify any errors/omissions in the care you have provided.

Anyway, that's a slightly tangential answer I guess. Practically, I think you should examine your nursing protocols and make sure your unit has appropriate safety interventions in place. Safety teaching, frequent rounding when moms are sedated, etc etc. Shift assessments should always include fall risks- including newborn falls. And certainly nobody should place any blame on the mother, that goes without saying.

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122 Posts; 2,454 Profile Views

I'm not a nurse yet but let me just say that from your story, it smells like a setup to me almost. Call me crazy to be so skeptical but maybe they think this could be a quick way to be millionaires by suing the hospital. Maybe she didn't drop the baby at all, just the way it sounds to me....sounds strange, if I dropped my baby I wouldn't say to the hospital why did you leave me alone! It's like they are setting it up for a lawsuit.

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Lev has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency - CEN.

2 Followers; 9 Articles; 2,802 Posts; 56,266 Profile Views

I'm not a nurse yet but let me just say that from your story, it smells like a setup to me almost. Call me crazy to be so skeptical but maybe they think this could be a quick way to be millionaires by suing the hospital. Maybe she didn't drop the baby at all, just the way it sounds to me....sounds strange, if I dropped my baby I wouldn't say to the hospital why did you leave me alone! It's like they are setting it up for a lawsuit.

That was (sadly? sickly?) my (maybe perverted) initial thought as well. The patient's response didn't seem like a normal response. If she was so concerned, she could have asked you to stick around. This was her second child. She should have known better.

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loveofrn has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in MICU.

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I dont know if there is a camera in her room because that might help to establish whether she is lying or not.

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292 Posts; 5,142 Profile Views

When I came in to introduce myself I did a mini assessment- IV, Foley, as well as LOC. She was sitting up, smiling, and playing with her phone. She was able to hold a conversation with me. She didn't look weak or tired. This was her second baby and her second C section. I didn't sense it was a set up because the patient herself was absolutely distraught after the incident. It was the husband who was freaking out. And nobody blamed her. I actually don't think anyone is at fault. That's why I'm kinda thrown off that everyone is blaming me. It was an accident. Plain and simple.

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OrganizedChaos has 10 years experience as a LVN and specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

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Accidents happen. Maybe the morphine just hit her after you left & she got tired. But what happened to the daughter? Was the older daughter there the whole time? Why was she not able to come get you, let you know the mother was tired & to take the baby back to the nursery. I'm just curious.

I wasn't on morphine after I had my baby but I still was on pretty strong pain killers that made me drowsy. My husband was always in the room with us & made sure I was ok. My husband would take him if the medication would knock me out.

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Lev has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency - CEN.

2 Followers; 9 Articles; 2,802 Posts; 56,266 Profile Views

When I came in to introduce myself I did a mini assessment- IV, Foley, as well as LOC. She was sitting up, smiling, and playing with her phone. She was able to hold a conversation with me. She didn't look weak or tired. This was her second baby and her second C section. I didn't sense it was a set up because the patient herself was absolutely distraught after the incident. It was the husband who was freaking out. And nobody blamed her. I actually don't think anyone is at fault. That's why I'm kinda thrown off that everyone is blaming me. It was an accident. Plain and simple.

I've seem set ups with very very good acting. Found out the family had their heat and electricity turned off and needed a place to stay til things sorted out. So while your teenaged daughter conveniently has appendicitis why doesn't she fake a seizure before surgery and then claim nerve injury after surgery.

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28 Posts; 1,036 Profile Views

I agree, sounds like a set up to sue you and the hospital.

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

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If no one has said this, now would be the time to contact your malpractice insurance carrier for their advice.

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sissiesmama has 22 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in ER, TRAUMA, MED-SURG.

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[quote. glad it wasn't just me - I wondered that too.

Anne, RNC

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klone has 14 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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I don't agree that it's a setup for a lawsuit. But maybe I'm naive.

I'm sorry this happened to you.

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