A first time mum who accidentally smothered her newborn son is suing the hospital after nurses put him in her bed to breastfeed even though she was still ‘groggy’ from taking Vicodin and Ambien after delivering him via C-section.

Monica Thompson, 42, gave birth to her son Jacob on August 2, 2012, at Portland Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Oregon.

Three days later, while she was still recovering from the procedure and being treated with strong pain medication, nurses brought the boy in to her bed in the middle of the night to be breastfed.

They left the pair alone with Jacob in the bed and she fell asleep. An hour later, she awoke to find him unresponsive in her arms.

He died seven days later when his mother and father Graham turned off his life support.  The baby had suffered severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen to his body.

Mrs Thompson is now suing the hospital for $8million.

She has accused staff of being negligent by first giving the baby to her to breastfeed when she was under the influence of such strong pain medication and for also leaving her alone with him when she was in such a drowsy state.

In court documents obtained by DailyMail.com, her lawyer described how she was given a ‘combination of narcotic painkillers and sleep aids’ to allow her to sleep on August 5, three days after she gave birth.

At 3am, an unnamed nurse brought Jacob into her room to be breastfed, the lawsuit claims.

‘[The nurse] put Jacob next to his mother in her bed so that she could breastfeed him. [They] left the room and left mother and son unattended,’ it claims.

‘About an hour later, still groggy and drowsy, Mrs Thompson noticed her son unresponsive in her arms.’

Worried, she tried a number of ways to wake the baby up.

‘She tried to stimulate her son’s suckling reflexes without success. She touched his eyes and got no response. She poked him and talked to him with no reaction.

‘She called for a nurse while she tried to get him to respond,’ her lawyer wrote.

When no one came to her room, she then carried the limp baby out into the hospital corridor and ‘frantically’ cried for help, the lawsuit said.

‘A nurse noticed the situation, examined Jacob and called a Code Blue; Jacob was not breathing,’ it said.

Doctors at that hospital concluded through a series of tests that he had suffered severe hypoxia, a lack of oxygen to the body’s tissue, and said his brain was ‘severely and permanently damaged’.

Mrs Thompson’s lawsuit is filed not just on her behalf but also on the behalf of her late son.

She claims the hospital caused him harm by giving his mother such strong pain medication when she was going to have to breastfeed him.

She also claims it was negligent by leaving him in the bed with her alone when she was drowsy and by not monitoring them for an hour.

‘Jacob suffocated under his mother while she was under the influence of narcotics and sleep aids. His inability to breath caused him desperation and anxiety.

‘His breathing eventually stopped.  His pulse was weak or absent.’

When doctors performed CPR on the baby, they broke his ribs which ‘can cause substantial pain,’ the lawsuit said.

Mrs Thompson believes the hospital owes his estate $3million in damages as a result.

She claims she is owed a further $8million personally, saying the hospital has ‘directly caused her severe emotional distress, severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety and prolonged grief disorder’.

She is asking for an additional $100,000 to pay for medical and counselling expenses.

What a horrific situation. That poor family.

Share your comments below

Image via Daily Mail

  • so that poor family! that would be very horrible to go through and it could easily happen to anyone! that is scary! i hope that the family can come to terms with their loss and eventually move on. i can’t imagine how they must be feeling


  • If they put the baby in the bed next to her she could easily have rolled onto him especially as she was so heavily drugged with a combination of strong medications. The nurse ought to have known the Mum might not even be alert enough to safely feed her baby unsupervised. Could the narcotic drugs have gone into the baby via her breastmilk??


  • Absolutely tragic. I can understand her suing – hospitals ignore complaints. She probably feels this s necessary to get them to pay attention.

    • I agree – people often sue to get things changed.


  • This is such a sad and tragic story and every sympathy to the family.


  • A very sad story, however suing will only hurt the medical system, increase the costs of the hospital and reduce the services they can provide to others…. sadly it won’t bring her son back.


  • So, so tragic. Breaks your heart this type of story,


  • A very sad story that no-one would want to experience.


  • What a sad and tragic story !
    I can imagine the mom wants to sue the hospital, but it won’t bring her baby back and it only feeds her feelings of bitterness. Bless her !


  • Very tragic story that very probably should not have happened, however all the money in the world won’t bring this baby back to life. Litigation in this instance is wrong – it’s sort of like ‘pay-back time’ and all it will do is stop future babies being given to their mother’s to breast feed and force the costs of natal care up even higher than they are now. Wish she would think clearly before suing – maybe all she really wanted was a heartfelt apology over this accident when it first happened.


  • This is such a tragic story that will hopefully change the way the maternity ward works, They are often understaffed and this could easily happen to anyone, I myself was given my baby to breastfeed and left alone whilst heavily sedated on painkillers.


  • I don’t understand if it was a decision of that nurse to bring the baby to the room or if the mother asked to breastfeed. Because she was under so much medication, was it safe to breastfeed?
    I don’t know. What a sad story. I believe there is some negligence from the hospital.


  • She probably shouldn’t have been left alone while she was on so much pain medication, but I think it was just a horrible tragic accident and all the money in the world wont fix it.


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