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Child Chokes on USED Condom!

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This actually happened to one family in a hotel ... and now they are fighting back!

childs silhouette and hotel room interior

What would you do if your 22-month-old boy choked on a used condom left behind in a hotel by a previous guest? That's exactly what happened to one family, and now they're suing mad!

According to a lawsuit filed by the Wolfe family of Pittsburg, Mass., the Wolfes were driving home from Florida when their nightmare began. On January 3, they checked into room 142 of the Homewood Suites in Mount Laurel, NJ before finishing their drive home.

The stay was uneventful until the morning they were scheduled to check out. Father Steven Wolfe had gone out to get breakfast and coffee, mom Amy Wolfe was helping their four-year-old son on the potty, and their nine-year-old daughter was playing Nintendo. What no one knew though was instead of being on the pull-out sofa watching TV, where everyone though he was, their toddler was chewing on a condom -- A USED CONDOM -- that had been left in the room by a previous hotel guest.

The mother, Amy, heard her little boy chewing and choking. She rushed over and and tried to get the used condom out of his mouth, but he had already "ingested the contents," according to the lawsuit.

The family's lawsuit claims that Homewood Suites and its subsidiaries, Hilton and Blackstone, put the boy at risk by leaving the "life-threatening" item in the room and subjecting the boy to an increased risk of contracting a "sexually transmitted disease, including HIV or AIDS, or some other, potentially life-threatening, potentially fatal illness."

"The baby had to go through a lot of testing, and continues to, because of this disgusting, horrific incident that essentially violated the whole family, but mostly the young boy," said the Wolfes' attorney, Norm Hobbie, of Eatontown, Monmouth County. "It's an extremely sensitive time for them."

The 15-count complaint contends that all five Wolfes suffered severe mental anguish witnessing the incident, and that the boy's siblings likely would have "psychiatric scars" because of it.

It says that Steven Wolfe has been forced to spend "great sums of money" to help cure his wife of a "loss of enjoyment of life."

We were so shocked by this story that we decided to call momlogic's pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson to see what the long term effects on this child might be. Here's what she had to say:

"There are two different kinds of risk here. The more immediate on was the risk of choking. Any plastic or latex item (usually balloon fragments but in this case a condom) can cover the entrance to the airway and result in death.

"The less immediate--but still extremely worrisome--risk in this case is that of a sexually transmitted disease. If the child had open sores in her mouth (for instance, if she was teething and had inflammation along her gums) sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C could theoretically gain entrance to her bloodstream. This is why the child must be tested for STDs. Unfortunately, some of these diseases may take some
time to show up, and so the testing continues and she is not out of the woods quite yet."

Momlogic called the Homewood Suites where the family stayed to see what they had to say about the Wolfe's lawsuit. We spoke to the manager, Melanie, who told us: "We don't comment on pending litigation."

What would you do in this situation? The first thing you'd need to do is stop your child from choking. Check out how to do the Heimlich maneuver and CPR on infants and children:

Heimlich on a baby Heimlich on a child CPR on a baby CPR on a child

next: Addicted to Having Children
31 comments so far | Post a comment now
kara February 2, 2009, 3:19 PM

oh my god. I can’t even imagine…

Lisa Survillas February 2, 2009, 3:30 PM

How aweful!! I hope they win. Hotels need to have better cleaning policies!

sam February 2, 2009, 4:24 PM

I really hope they win. This is disgusting!

mary February 2, 2009, 4:24 PM

prove it!

rugbymom February 2, 2009, 4:28 PM

OMG! I 2nd that Kara. Sheesh! I would be mortified…however! I still do not believe in suing for psychiatric scars of siblings, that is BS, as well as “loss of enjoyment of life.” Seroiusly? Maybe we would not have such a laughable litagation-happy society if people sued for real reasons and did not add all that other stuff. They have a legitimate reason to sue, why add that other crap? That is disgusting to me too…(Granted, not as disgusting as what happened, but pretty gross!) The siblings however, i am pretty sure they will just give their little brother hello, once he is medically cleared. (And I really hope and pray he is!)

Dionne February 2, 2009, 4:29 PM

If they are faking it who could they pay to put dna in the condom. Who would want to be known for that.

Anonymous February 2, 2009, 4:32 PM

I appreciate the potentially life-saving videos that go with this article.
The story’s gross but no surprise. First thing the hotel should do is fire the staff responsible for cleaning that room. And then they should have to reimburse the family for that poor baby’s medical bills. As for long term trauma, I’m not really convinced there’ll be any.

Nicole February 2, 2009, 4:35 PM

That is horrific and disgusting.
SOMEthing has to be done..

Kathleen  February 2, 2009, 4:38 PM

ew. ew. ew.

Kelly February 2, 2009, 5:17 PM

According to the American Red Cross, the instructions in your videos are out of date. In 2006, the Red Cross made significant revisions to their choking rescue guidelines. You may wish to check in with the Red Cross and write a follow-up article.

Christa February 2, 2009, 8:30 PM

Yes it’s gross and too bad… but the parents should have taught their child not to put things other than food in his mouth… further more, what parent leaves their child unattended in a bathroon?
It seems to me the parents are just looking for a way to make easy money instead of taking responsibilty

jenn February 2, 2009, 8:52 PM

Christa, you may want to read the story again, the mother did not leave the 22 month old in the bathroom alone. she was helping her 4 yr old in the bathroom when the 22 month old found and choked on the condom. Ive worked in many hotels, some 5 star, and believe me, “things” get un-noticed by cleaning staff, when they shouldnt! also, its kind of hard to tell a 2 yr old not to put things in his mouth, you can tell them, but that doesnt mean they are going to remember every single time! Point is, the hotel should have better cleaning staff, and the head housekeeper apparently is not doing their job either by checking the rooms. If I had to bed, im guessing the condom was left in the pull out couch. I dont think the hotel should be liable for “loss of enjoyment for life” or the emotional distress, but they should be responsible for medical bills, and some sort of sum for the incident in general!

and a little hint, dont sleep under the main comforter on hotel beds..most of them never, or rarely get washed!

chey February 2, 2009, 10:29 PM

yes, it is awful but to say the mother will have emotional scars is far fetched!

ashley February 3, 2009, 7:55 AM

UUGGHH!!! Hotels are so gross!! My mom is such a germaphobe that we weren’t aloud to sit on the comforter, put our barefeet on the floor, and she usually left the clothes we had traveled in, in the trash can at the hotel. But, she was doing it for our own good. The few times we have been to a hotel, I don’t let my kids in the floor or roll around on the comforter and we usually take it off the bed to sleep. I hope that little baby is ok.

Ashley February 3, 2009, 8:39 AM

I agree with this being totally horrible for the child but if you notice the doctor mentions troubles for the youth that swallowed it not what happens to the other children mentally. I agree with the others and feel they had a case without all the extra crap. It sounds to me like the parents just wanted a taste of the money too.

ame i. February 3, 2009, 11:00 AM

“Psychiatric scars of siblings” and, “loss of enjoyment of life” is pushing it a bit and obviously “lawyer speak” but I can imagine how I would feel if it had happened to my child.
Many of us have seen the “hidden camera” reports of the shortcuts some hotel workers do while cleaning a room, such as wiping glasses & dishes with the same used towel they cleaned the bathroom with.
I’ve paid $300 for one night’s stay in some hotels and found crumbs in the bed, cig. butts and ashes in the floor, belongings of previous guests behind bedside tables. I have stayed in lesser priced hotels that would not let me/my family into our room until a supervisor did a walk-through to make sure it was up to standards.
I think the hotel should be responsible for all medical costs and perhaps a hundred grand or two for the “mental suffering and loss of enjoyment of life” but I’m sure this family is asking for much more.

k February 3, 2009, 12:26 PM

I can believe it would bother the siblings. I had an incident where my oldest was bitten by a shark at the beach and his siblings and cousins who were there were greatly affected. They saw him go into the ambulance and visited him at the hospital. It has been nine years and my children still choose not to go to the beach. To say a traumatic event does not cause stress for the parents and siblings is wrong. Hopefully those who believe the family forgets about it afterward will never have to suffer anything traumatic.

m February 4, 2009, 10:43 AM

what if the toddler found a used condom on the sidewalk would she sue the city?

Quit blaming others for not watching your kids well enough.

We always do a room check when we go to a hotel before we let the little one go.

ohsnap42 February 4, 2009, 2:22 PM

I could see the mom not getting joy out of life. Im completly grossed out by someone elses kid swallowing some of that stuff….i’d be beyond mortified if MY kid did!!!!!

hope they win this case…

Anonymous February 4, 2009, 5:11 PM

It’s pretty sad that SOME people think you have to expect condoms in hotel rooms. Why not just EXPECT a clean room??
I have seen the complaint. The mom went to the bathroom. Was she supposed to take her whole family in with her?

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