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Suit filed over death of infant in hospital bed

Monica Thompson, who unintentionally smothered her newborn baby in a hospital bed in 2012, has filed a nearly $9 million lawsuit against Portland Adventist Medical Center. Thompson blames the hospital for placing her son in bed with her to breastfeed in the middle of the night while she was heavily medicated following a Caesarean section.

According to The Oregonian, a nurse gave Thompson her son and then left the two unsupervised at approximately 3 a.m. Thompson had taken sleep and pain medication a few hours earlier and was still groggy and drowsy, according to the lawsuit. Thompson fell asleep while her son Jacob was in her bed and awoke to discover that he wasn’t breathing. She called for a nurse and attempted to get her son to respond. When a nurse didn’t answer her call, she ran into the hallway with her son and yelled for help.

Jacob experienced catastrophic brain damage as a result of this incident. He was removed from life support six days later when his parents were informed that his comatose state could not be reversed. He was 10 days old when he died.

The issue of parents sleeping in the same bed with their newborns has caused concern and contention for some time. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents do not share a bed with infants under one year of age. The AAP does, however, recommend that newborns sleep in the same room as their parents to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome for the first year.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for Monica Thompson’s emotional distress and compensation for her counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The suit also seeks damages for the child’s “desperation and anxiety” while he was suffocated.

A spokeswoman for Portland Adventist Medical Center declined to comment.

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