Baby decapitated during birth at Riverdale hospital, lawsuit alleges
Editor’s Note: Some details of this story may be graphic.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Clayton County court claims health professionals at Southern Regional Medical Center incorrectly delivered a baby, resulting in decapitation — and then tried to cover it up.
“When the womb was open, the feet came out, the body came out, and there was no head,” said Dr. Roderick Edmond, who is representing the Clayton County couple.
The negligence and fraud suit names several defendants, including the hospital, a doctor, several nurses and the medical group at large, a statement from law firm Edmond & Lindsay, LLP said.
According to the complaint, 20-year-old Jessica Ross was giving birth on July 9 when the baby’s shoulders got stuck in the vaginal canal. A doctor allegedly performed a cesarean section too late and applied “excessive tension” on the baby’s head, causing it to detach from the body.
“My clients asked for a C-section much sooner than it was ever delivered while the baby was viable,” Edmond said.
The law firm also said the doctor did not tell the mother and father, Treveon Isaiah Taylor, what had happened. Instead, hospital staff allegedly refused to let them hold the baby after death. They showed the parents the baby wrapped tightly in a blanket with the head propped on top, a statement said. It also says staff pressured the couple to cremate the remains and told them an autopsy wasn’t warranted.
“They did everything in their power to not let the family know what actually happened on that day,” said Cory Lynch, who is also representing Ross and Taylor.
The couple reportedly didn’t learn about the decapitation until four days after delivery.
“This caused immediate, profound emotional and mental anguish for [the plaintiffs]... emotional and mental anguish that they continue to experience and most probably will experience for the rest of their lives,” the complaint says.
The complaint asks for compensatory and punitive damages, in addition to recovering the $10,000 cost of their son’s funeral and burial.
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Southern Regional Medical Center said in a statement that it is unable to discuss the treatment of specific patients because of HIPAA laws.
“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the family and all those impacted by this tragic event. Our prayers also remain with the dedicated team of physicians, nurses and staff at Southern Regional Medical Center who cared for this patient,” the statement said. “Our commitment is to provide compassionate, quality care to every single patient, and this loss is heartbreaking.”
In an additional statement, a spokesperson for Southern Regional Medical Center denied the allegations in the lawsuit.
“While our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family, Southern Regional Medical Center denies the allegations in the Complaint referencing the hospital. Since this matter is in litigation, we are refrained from providing any additional information,” the statement said. “Dr. St Julian [who is named in the lawsuit] is not an employee of the hospital. The hospital has taken the appropriate steps in response to this unfortunate situation.”
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