It’s upsetting enough when a baby is sick or hurt. But if you’re the one at fault because you, say, were the one who passed on a virus or, heaven forbid, dropped the baby, it’s even more traumatizing.
Hannalore Hoffman was trying to be nice by offering to watch her 6-month-old granddaughter Molly one morning after the baby didn’t fall back asleep after a 5:30 a.m. feeding while the extended family was away together on vacation. In a terrible turn of events, Hannalore stumbled down the stairs and fell while holding Molly, who is now 5-years-old and severely disabled as a result, according to Café Mom.
It’s a horrific situation. But it gets worse. Hannalore’s daughter and son-in-law sued her for tripping down the stairs and a court just ruled that she is, in fact, legally responsible for her granddaughter’s injuries.
Quite possibly the only thing worse than an accident that leaves a child permanently injured is blaming the poor grandmother for what was an accident. An accident.
Hannalore said in court that she knew the staircase well but didn’t turn on the lights in an effort not to wake up anyone else — although she made a point to ask her daughter to keep the lights turned on in the room so she could see. She lost her footing and couldn’t stop from falling.
The judge in the case said: “Did (Hoffmann) exercise such care in this case? In my view she did not. I accept that she thought that she was being careful. I accept that often babies are attended to in the middle of the night, and in order that other members of a household are not disturbed, without lights being turned on. Nevertheless, when regard is had to the totality of circumstances … I am persuaded that she did not take that reasonable care.”
Surely it’s devastating enough for a baby to suffer permanent brain damage as a result of an accident, but it’s even more horrible that it was at the hands of a loved one. Still, it was an accident.
And if Hannalore’s daughter and son-in-law really think the whole incident was preventable, then they should be held accountable for having left the baby in her care in the first place. Shame on them.
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