mother sues hospital for assault and battery of newborn

A Florida mother is suing the hospital where she gave birth for assault and battery after hospital staff circumcised her newborn son against her wishes. Already in the neonatal intensive care unit, the baby was taken out to undergo the procedure, which involves an amputation of skin and tissue.

The procedure took place even though the mother stated numerous times that she did not want the procedure performed on her son. She is suing the hospital for $1 million.

Outside of general concern over the safety of such procedures is the concern that the hospital’s system of communication was so faulty that even the mother’s express wishes were lost in the shuffle.

It’s just one of the latest examples of poor communication within hospitals and the effect these breakdowns have on patients. The procedure in this case is irreversible. Although it was not fatal nor permanently debilitating, it was still unwanted and unsolicited.

As Susan Donaldson James points out in her article for ABC News, what if it had been a case where doctors amputated the wrong leg?

In Pennsylvania, several groups have called for increased accountability and reporting on the part of hospitals. Increased reporting and accountablility would help hospitals determine where the communication breakdowns are occurring so changes can be made to keep them from happening again.

One thing is certain – such breakdowns in communication are dangerous and, in many cases, life-changing.

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