Mom Sues Hospital After 'Miracle Baby' Is Smothered to Death

Conde Law Group/People

In an absolutely tragic turn of events, a mom named Monica Thompson accidentally smothered her 4-day-old miracle baby Jacob back in 2012. Now, Thompson has filed an $8.6 million lawsuit against Portland Adventist Medical Center, alleging that a nurse employed by the hospital transferred her newborn from a nursery to her bed, so that she could breastfeed him. However, at the time, Thompson says she was under "a combination" of "narcotic painkillers and sleep aids," and she blames the hospital for the loss of her precious son. 


The complaint, which was filed Friday, August 11, was obtained by People, and states:

"Jacob suffocated under his mother while she was under the influence of narcotic and sleep aids. His inability to breath [sic] caused desperation and anxiety. His breathing eventually stopped. His pulse was weak or absent."

Thompson says that an hour later, she was "still drowsy and groggy" and noticed that her son was unresponsive in her arms. He was transferred to the NICU of a different hospital and spent six days on life support before Thompson and her husband, Graham, made the difficult decision to terminate his life support at the recommendation of doctors, the complaint notes.

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Tragically, the Thompsons had spent 12 years struggling with infertility before having Jacob in 2012, so they referred to him as their "true miracle baby."

Monica Thompson told People in a written statement that Jacob was "my firstborn and only son. I am sharing our story in the hopes that no mother or family will ever have to suffer through a tragedy such as this. What happened to us could've easily been prevented had the nurses been doing their job. I am Jacob's voice in making sure his life won't be in vain."

The family's lawyer, Diego Conde, explained to People that it took several years for the couple to file the lawsuit, because they needed the time to recover emotionally. Quite understandable.

"For years the thought of 'I killed my baby' couldn't escape her, it's only natural," Conde explained. "It has taken Monica and the family all this time to finally come to the conclusion that something went wrong, and they were not to blame."

The hospital has released a statement as well, noting, "This was a tragic event and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family. Adventist Medical Center is committed to providing quality, compassionate care to all of our patients. We are reviewing the claims being made and we are unable to provide any additional information at this time."

The horrific incident raises a bevy of questions related to care for new moms and their newborns. More and more, hospitals are being encouraged to promote mother-baby bonding, skin-to-skin contact, early breastfeeding, etc. Some are even doing away with nurseries altogether. And while that can make for a tremendously positive experience for some parents, it also requires hospital employees to be more cognizant of a new mom's specific medical picture and having the ability to offer more individualized care.

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What happened to the Thompsons is a gut-wrenching tragedy that can never be made fully right. But with hope, speaking out and sharing their story will be able to bring the couple even a smidge of peace and a sense of justice.

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