New Dad Douglas Kennedy's Battle With Maternity Nurses Is a Win for Parents Everywhere

Mom Moment 48

hospitalMark this one on the calendars, y'all. Today I feel "as one" with a Kennedy! Douglas Kennedy, to be exact, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy. He was acquitted this week of child endangerment and harassment charges all stemming from an incident in a hospital with his own baby. It's a win for the tragic Kennedy clan, but it's more than that. Douglas Kennedy's acquittal is a win for parents everywhere.

It's all there in black and white. Sometimes a parent knows best. And to heck with the medical community.

In case you're not familiar with the case, here's the skinny: the new daddy wanted to take his son, Anthony Boru Kennedy, outside the hospital for "fresh air." Nurses at Northern Westchester Hospital decided the 2-day-old wasn't ready for that, and they claimed Douglas assaulted them as they tried to block him from taking his own son outside.

The court has decided Kennedy didn't assault the nurses. But even bigger here is the fact that they found absolutely no reason why he couldn't take his own child out of the hospital.

Moms? Dads? Take heed. Just because you're new at this whole parenting thing doesn't mean you need to be bullied by the staff on the maternity ward.

I have several friends who work as maternity nurses and are fabulous at their jobs. They are reasonable folks who only want the best for moms and babies.

But there is always that one nurse on the floor who seems to be on a constant power trip. On parenting boards you'll see them referred to as Nazi Nurse or Nurse Ratched. And it's hard as a new parent to know whether you have the right to stick up for yourself.

I remember being reamed by a nurse of this type the day after my daughter was born. I'd removed her swaddle in an attempt to wake her up, and the nurse barged into the (temperature controlled) room to inform me that my baby was going to freeze to death. Ironically, this happened shortly after another nurse scolded me for letting her sleep instead of waking her up to feed her every two hours (something I've since been told by several medical professionals was not actually a problem ... it's normal for babies to sleep after the trauma of birth, and she was not in any danger of malnutrition). Another time I tangled with a nurse who insisted that a pacifier was not going to harm my baby despite everything I'd read about it making it more difficult to breastfeed.

Each time, I caved. Because who was I to challenge medical practitioners, people who "knew" what they were doing? Now I know that they were wrong, and like Douglas Kennedy, I should have trusted my instincts as a parent.

Seeing Kennedy win out over these nurses, I can't help hoping that some other parents take heed, that this empowers new moms and dads to take the helm on their baby's care. No, we aren't hospital staff. But we are these kids' parents. That counts for something.

Did you butt heads with the hospital staff after your baby was born?


Image via _Fidelio_/Flickr

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puasa... puasaurusrex

Not after, but only because during labor my husband kicked out a couple of rude nurses and demanded they not step foot in my room again. I was in labor with my daughter (first child) at 35 weeks, third trip to the hospital and when we informed the nurse that the doctors already checked me and determined I was either 5 or 6 cm dilated, she responds "well, Dr. _____ has very small hands and Dr. ____ is very generous." She then demanded to check me and told me I was barely a 2 and wouldn't be admitted because there were women who were "actually in labor". I delivered my daughter at 9 pm that night without the need of induction drugs.

dirti... dirtiekittie

the only issue i had was with my second. i had a c-section and had to take a wheelchair to visit her in NICU. she was born at 9.47am, but i did not see her until nearly 9pm that night. the nicu nurses were absolutely wonderful and told me to come see her anytime. the next morning (not even 24 hours after the c-section) i wanted to see my baby. i called the nurse on duty to bring me a wheelchair, because the nicu was down the hall and quite a bit far away for me to walk, having just had the surgery. she told me "no! you need to get up and walk! your incision will be fine!" she snapped at me on the phone and then hung up.

i walked to the nicu with my husband holding my hand. it took me nearly half an hour to cover what was probably the same as about a city block, but with staples and just having had surgery, it HURT. the nicu nurses could not BELIEVE the nurse wouldn't let me have a wheelchair and made sure to bring me one while i sat with my baby. the rest of the staff was lovely, but that one nurse - what a birch!! :/

Teri_25 Teri_25

I had a super bitchy nurse who actually told me to SHUT UP during labor, that I was getting too loud. If I had been more coherent, I would have told her where to stick it. She also had me start pushing too early which was a bad idea considering I'd already been in labor since 5pm the night before and I had no food, and I was sick with bronchitis!!

nonmember avatar nicky

If you don't want to deal with their rules, their doctors and their nurses, why don't you stay home?? To hell with the medical community? Really?? People are so spoiled.

fave82 fave82

I loved my nurses and hospital. All of them were helpful and super nice.

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

After my 2nd c section the nurses were trying to give me oxycodone for my pain. But it just made me so sleepy and didn't do anything for my immense pain! I was telling them that last time with my first they gave me Percocet and it worked great. Then the nurse started lecturing me about how they were concerned I would become addicted and that a lot of addicts come to hospitals for pain meds and that I would have to wait for my doctor, she wouldn't call her. My husband got so pissed. He was like "who the hell would come in and get an emergency c section just for 2 percocets?!" He demanded they call my doctor and guess what, she said yes. Stupid nurses!

Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

Teri25- I feel your pain! I had the same thing said to me during natural labor and an almost 10lb baby. Needless to say, they did not get a glowing review when they sent me an online survey of my experience. 

Mary Cimino

Both times giving birth were alright, can't say great because I went through the worse pain in my life there lol. My first one was born at 32 weeks and had to stay in the NICU, I had a minor stroke and was bed ridden afterwards. Withing six hours of her birth I was wanting to see her. The nurses were against it but they understood what I was going through. One nurse informed the doctor that they were taking a bed in the NICU so I could see her right away. It was nice knowing that they were willing to let me see her as much as I was!

mande... manderspanders

@SuzyBarno...  I'm an RN and I don't understand those nurses... firstly, I do agree with you that the nurses shouldn't be arguing like that and SHOULD call the doctor to get an order, it was certainly very wrong of them to treat you that way...  But Percocet IS oxycodone with tylenol...  So if oxycodone alone wasn't helping, then moving on to percocet wouldn't hurt at all.  And if they were soooooooooo concerned about addiction, then why would they give you any narcotic pain med?  As a nurse myself, the stupidity that I see from other nurses simply amazes me... I just don't even know how they made it through school.  And I'm, sure, since we have recently found out that I am pregnant (6.5wks), that I will be the world's worst maternity patient.  Everyone woman and her partner should know that they have rights and can refuse any treatment at any time and can demand a second opinion or to speak directly to their physician.  The hospital ISN'T a jail, and no laboring woman or new mother should be treated that way.

Kokos... Kokoscold

Teri and LovinJersey I had a similar thing happen to me. While in hours 16-17 of labor no drugs. Mind you my son was "sunny-side up" so I had horrible back labor. I was crying saying it hurts it hurts cause hey labor hurts. Anyways one the the newer nurses that just came on shift looked at me and said "Honny it's labor it's supposed to hurt" WTF!!! My husband and my parent just gave her the evil eye. I couldn't tell her to F off cause I wasn't coherent enough. But I'm pretty sure my dad had some not so kind words for her in the hall. She came back a little later and was very very sweet from them on.

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