Memphis Hospital Faces Lawsuit Over Birth in Waiting Room

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CN) – A Tennessee woman claims in court that she had to give birth in front of strangers in a hospital waiting room because she was told no rooms were available when she showed up in active labor.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in Shelby County Circuit Court, Julie Chism claims she showed up at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s hospital around 3 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2015, and was told that her scheduled labor and delivery would be postponed 24 hours due to scheduling conflicts.

But she showed up the hospital again at 11 p.m. that night in active labor, only to be told that no rooms were available and she should wait in the waiting room, according to the complaint.

“A few minutes thereafter, Mrs. Chism went to use the bathroom and realized she was currently in the process of giving birth,” the complaint states. “[She] rushed back to the waiting room and screamed for help. At this point, Mrs. Chism was forced to give birth in the waiting area of the labor and delivery unit of defendant Methodist with several strangers present.”

Chism says the incident caused her to suffer “severe emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.” Her baby was also born with an irregular heartbeat and jaundice, according to the lawsuit.

The mother seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory damages for Methodist Le Bonheur’s alleged violation of the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act. She is represented by J. Mark Benfield with Apperson Crump in Memphis, Tenn.

Methodist Le Bonheur declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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