A woman and her husband are suing Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, claiming their child was born with brain damage because the mother was overdosed with drugs while in labor.

The complaint, filed May 29 in state District Court, says Xochil Jimenez had a normal pregnancy, was full term and had already gone into labor when she was admitted to the hospital at around 10 p.m. Sept. 6, 2011.

The complaint says Jimenez, then 27, was given the painkiller Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. A hospital employee, unaware that Jimenez had been given the narcotic, then tried to place an epidural in her back but “experienced difficulty.” About half an hour later, the complaint says, hospital staff determined the first epidural had been ineffective, so they administered a second epidural.

Six minutes later, the complaint says, Jimenez was found “unresponsive and unable to breathe on her own.”

For the next 10 minutes or so, the document says, Jimenez was “frantically attended to by medical staff” in the presence of her family and prepared to undergo an emergency C-section.

The complaint claims the Jimenezes’ son, Elijah, was “unresponsive, blue and floppy” when he was born and didn’t cry for five minutes after he was delivered. The suit also says both mother and child had to be administered an antioverdose drug called naloxone, also known as Narcan, to counter the excessive amounts of narcotics Jimenez had been given.

The complaint says Elijah, who was transferred to University Hospital in Albuquerque around 7 a.m. Sept. 7, has cerebral palsy as a result of the circumstances surrounding his birth, including his mother’s overdose, her subsequent respiratory arrest and the hospital’s failure to make sure the newborn received certain treatments that could have protected him, had they been administered within the first few hours after his birth.

The document seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages.

The couple lived in Santa Fe when their son was born, but their attorney said they have since moved to Riverside, Calif., to be closer to family members who help them care for their special-needs son.

Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center spokesman Arturo Delgado said he wasn’t aware the case had been filed.

In December, a Santa Fe jury ordered the hospital to pay $1 million to a woman who stopped breathing as a result of being overmedicated at the facility in 2010.

Contact Phaedra Haywood at 986-3068 or phaywood@sfnewmexican.com.