Please Respect My Decision: A true story

woman sitting on a bed with her back to cameraAnnie M. had made an adoption plan prior to delivery, and had even prepared a short birth plan for the hospital staff. Her main request was not to see the baby. Adoption was not an easy decision for her; she was struggling as a single mom with two teenage children who thought it would be “fun” to have a baby around the house. Annie knew it wouldn’t be fun, and had explained to her children that adoption was really the best choice for this baby.

During her labor, Annie reminded the nurses that she had no wish to see her baby, but instead wanted for the baby to go immediately to the nursery and the waiting adoptive parents. However, immediately following delivery, a well-meaning nurse brought the baby over and placed it on her chest, despite Annie’s pleas to take the baby away. The nurse later said that she didn’t think Annie was serious about her desire, and that she thought if Annie actually saw the baby, she would realize that she wanted it. Annie did want this baby, but she knew she could not parent another child on her own. She had made her choices but now the situation was out of her control.

Annie suddenly went into cardiac arrest. She lost consciousness and died. The final determination was the situation with placing the baby on her chest likely played a key role in her death and that the hospital was liable.