As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, I have represented a lot of clients in cases involving serious injuries and deaths of newborn babies and children, both in labor and delivery and in the early years of life.
When it comes to providing healthcare to babies and children, the standard of care requires doctors and nurses to use special precautions. After all, a baby or young child cannot speak up when something is wrong. If a doctor or nurse does not follow these basic safety rules, then it can lead to serious injury or death.
According to an Oregon woman who recently filed a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit, a nurse and hospital disregarded safety rules and caused the death of her newborn baby by suffocation.
The mother delivered her baby boy by Cesarean section (C section), and was kept in the hospital for a few days before a planned discharge. Three days after delivery, while the mother was on pain and sleep medications, a nurse brought the baby to his mother’s bed for breast-feeding, and then left the room. About an hour later, the frantic mother realized that her son was not responsive and called for the nurse. Accordingly lawsuit, a nurse did not show up, so she carried her son in the hallway to get help.
Sadly, the little baby was not breathing and was placed on life support. He passed away at the age of 10 days.
Safe-sleep guidelines for babies and young children
In October 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced new safe sleep recommendations to prevent tragedies like this. Every year in the United States, there are around 3,500 sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation or strangulation.
The main author of the new guidelines said, “We know that parents may be overwhelmed with the new baby in the home, and we want to provide them with clear and simple guidance on how and where to put their infant sleep. Parents should never place the baby on the sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these services are extremely hazardous.”
The Academy recommends the following tips to make sleep time safer for babies:
· Lie the baby down for sleep on his or her back on a firm surface, like a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
· Keep the crib free of soft bedding, crib bumpers, blankets, pillows, and soft toys.
· Keep the baby in the same bedroom, but not in the same bed, as the parents. Preferably continue this until the age of one, but at least for the first six months. Research shows that keeping a baby in the same room as the parents for sleeping decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
· Protect the baby from exposure to smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs.
Mind you, the Academy’s guidelines are designed for parents. Doctors, nurses, and hospitals have more training and awareness, so it is inexcusable for a health care provider to violate the safety rule and place the baby at risk for suffocation. It is particularly shocking for a nurse to place a baby in his mother’s bed, when the mother was recovering from surgery, on pain and sleep medications.
We are here to help
Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers have handled negligence and wrongful death cases against hospitals all over Houston. You can reach us for a free consultation about your potential case at 281-580-8800.
Attorney Robert Painter sues doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, hospitals, and other health care providers on behalf of victims of medical negligence.