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Lawsuit Filed After Smothering Death Following Childbirth

NBC 2 News shared a brief story recently on a new medical malpractice lawsuit that stems from a unique tragedy affecting a mother and her infant daughter. The situation stirs the heart and, no matter how the case shakes out, it is a reminder of the immense saddness and tragedy that is wrapped up in each individual med mal case that is workings its way through the court system. We must never forget that real lives and immense emotion are involved in these situations.

Smothering Death
According to the story, a mother was at the defendant-hosptial after just giving birth to her new daughter. Not long after the actual delivery, the infant was given to the mother to begin breastfeeding. The mother allegedly told the nurses on staff that day that they should come and take the infant away once the breastfeeding was complete. Throughout this time, the mother was still a bit out of it as a result of the medications she was given during the delivery–it is unclear if she was given additional medications which might have affected her mental condition after the delivery itself.

At first everything seemed fine, and the mother began breastfeeding her new baby girl in the hosptial beds as the nurses went away. However, due to the medication, the mother drifted off to sleep. The suit alleges that the nurses did not monitor the situation, and the infant was left in her sleeping mother’s arms. This proved to be a huge mistake. Unknown to the mother, the infant was positioned in such a way or moved during the feeding so that the baby was smothered to the mother and unable to move. When the mother woke up shortly thereafter she found the baby still in her arms. But the girl was not breathing. It wasn’t long before the child was pronounced dead, and a medical examiner confirmed that it was due to being unable to breathe while “co-sleeping.”

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
This situation eventually led to the filing of a lawsuit against those involved in the care. The mother claims that the nurses should have acted differently to prevent the tragedy. As in all medical malpractice cases, the main legal issue will be whether or not the nurses were unreasonable or violated professionals standards of care when they were working with the mother after the birth. This will hinge on traditional caregiving protocols. It is common for nurses to leave mothers alone with infants even while on medication? What medications were given? How strong were they? When were they given? How frequently should they have checked on the patints? How often did they actually check on them?

All of these questions and more will undoubteldy come into play during the course of the case. The ultimate outcome, either a dismissal, settlement, or trial will hinge on what the attorneys learn and can prove related to those and similar matters.

At the end of the day, this case is a testament to the uniqueness of some birth injury suits. While most of these matters relate to missteps during the delivery itself, medical caregivers must also provide reasonable care after the delivery. That includes ensuring proper safety protocols are in place to prevent unique tragedies like the one that affected this family. If you are in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois and suspect that you might not have recieved reasonable care at any point during your stay for childbirth, please get in touch with out legal team to see how we can help.

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