Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Is medical malpractice responsible for infant's death?

Many courts around the country and here in Maryland must answer this question far more often than anyone would prefer. No parent should have to leave a hospital without his or her child. Doing so would be difficult enough when doctors did everything they could to save the child, but when it is possible that medical malpractice led to the infant's death, it could be devastating.

This is the situation facing one family in another state. After a cesarean section, the hospital gave the mother a sleep aid called Ambien and a painkiller called Vicodin. A few hours later, at approximately 3 a.m., a nurse brought her newborn into the room for breastfeeding. The infant was put into the bed with the medicated mother who must have rolled onto him.

When the mother awoke approximately one hour later, she realized that her infant was beside her and did not seem to be moving. Even in her groggy state, she knew something may be wrong, so she used her call button seeking help. No one came, so she took the child out of her room pleading for help. A few days later, the baby's parents took him off life support and he died. Even if he had lived, he had suffered serious brain damage.

The medical malpractice claim in this case seeks to hold the hospital liable for the infant's death due to the belief that the hospital staff showed a serious lack of judgment by putting her child in bed with her while she was drugged and unsupervised. As would be the case here in Maryland, it will be necessary to determine whether the hospital was negligent or otherwise breached the standard of care owed to the mother and her child. Successfully litigating such a claim could result in an award of damages, and perhaps some reassurance that no other parent will lose a child in the same manner.

Source: oregonlive.com, "Mom who accidentally suffocated newborn in hospital bed sues for $8.6 million", Aimee Green, Aug. 10, 2017

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