Monica Thompson, a woman from Oregon mistakenly killed her 4-day-old baby by sleeping upon it on August 6, 2012. But she is suing the Portland Adventist Medical Center where the incident happened for $8.6 Million. According to the lawsuit which was filed at the Multnomah County Circuit Court last week, Thompson’s son, Jacob, had been placed by her side for breastfeeding while she was heavily medicated.

She later woke up to find her baby had been placed by her side during the night while she slept and had been unintentionally smothered to near death.

Baby Jacob had been born on August 2, 2012, via C-section, and was placed in a nursery for three days to enable his mother to recover fully from the surgery.

Litigant says she was drugged on the night of the incident

On the night of the incident, the litigant said she had been placed on narcotic pain killers and sleep aids and so slept deeply. But a nurse had brought baby Jacob into her room around 3 a.m. for breastfeeding and placed him beside the sleeping mother.

Still drowsy and under the influence of the drugs, she woke up much later to find her baby beside her and unresponsive.

She shook him and called but the baby did not stir, then she groggily carried him into the hallway and yelled to nurses for help.

Jacob suffered severe brain damage and was placed on life support. Comatose, doctors said Jacob might never recover and his parents removed him from life support. He died 10 days after his birth.

Thompson is suing both the Hospital and the negligent nurse for $8.6 million. The damages are for the anxiety and desperation the baby suffered as he suffocated to death, and the severe emotional distress she suffered on realizing she smothered her son to death in bed. It will also cover treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and other medical costs incurred by the avoidable death of her child.

Mother says the incident was avoidable but hospital would not comment

“What happened to us could have easily been prevented had the nurses been doing their job,” Thompson's lawyer said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said the hospital’s management would review the lawsuit and respond accordingly. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns against newborns and mothers sharing the same bed because of possible risks of smothering the infant to death in bed.

To this extent, new mothers should be cautious to understand that the sole care of their newborns should not be left entirely to the hospitals.

They owe as much care to their newborns as much as the hospital owes to them.

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