Newborn dies after nurses fail to respond to mother’s needs

First-time parents experience first-time joys. Yet, becoming a mother sometimes involves complications, and many new mothers must rely on hospital staff for help during the first 24-48 hours after giving birth. Unfortunately, hospital staff might not always provide the desired or necessary care in a timely manner, which could result in tragedy.

This was the situation in a recent case in the U.S., resulting in the death of a newborn. A medical malpractice lawsuit has since been filed against the hospital where the baby had been born and then died.

The baby was born via Cesarean section. After the operation, the 21-year-old mother was exhausted and put on painkillers. The mother cared for her new baby, and after breastfeeding, the mother requested that nurses retrieve her baby so that she could get some rest. But before nurses responded to the woman’s request, the mother dozed off with her baby in the hospital bed. She awoke 30 minutes later, finding her daughter unresponsive. Hospital workers were not able to revive the new mother’s daughter.

Nearly a year after the baby’s death, an autopsy report finally identified the cause of death as asphyxia from co-sleeping. Co-sleeping can be dangerous because parents can accidentally smother their babies in their sleep.

After learning that her child had suffocated while co-sleeping, the mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit, seeking damages for pain and suffering as well as medical and funeral expenses. The lawsuit claims that the nurses’ failure to retrieve the baby at the mother’s request before she dozed off had contributed to the newborn’s death.

The lawsuit also states that hospital workers gave the new mother Percocet, magnesium sulfate, duramorph and Motrin when her pain score was zero. The lawsuit argues that staff should have been more attentive to the patient since she was caring for a newborn while on strong painkillers.

In response to the lawsuit, the hospital’s attorney has since filed a motion to dismiss. The hospital claims that its staff did not deviate from the standard of care when caring for the mother and her baby after the child was delivered by C-section.

Source: Marco Eagle, “Collier mom whose infant died in her hospital bed sues, alleges lax care,” Aisling Swift, Nov. 20, 2012

  • Our firm provides counsel to Illinois patients and their families who have been harmed by medical malpractice, including hospital negligence that resulted in a patient’s wrongful death. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Will County medical malpractice page.

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