WARNING: distressing content
A doctor used too much force and decapitated a baby during delivery, according to a lawsuit filed in the US state of Georgia.
Parents Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr and their lawyers announced the lawsuit against Dr Tracey St Julian and Southern Regional Medical Centre, a hospital in Riverdale about 20km south of Atlanta.
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WATCH VIDEO ABOVE: Doctor decapitated baby during delivery, according to lawsuit
Ross attended the hospital on July 9 to give birth to her son.
“They were so excited about the birth of their first child,” lawyer Cory Lynch said.
“Unfortunately, their dreams and hopes turned into a nightmare that was covered up by Southern Regional Medical Centre.”
The hospital in Georgia denies the allegations including that it tried to cover up the baby’s decapitation. Credit: NBC
Southern Regional said it could not discuss treatment for particular patients due to privacy laws, but it denies the allegations.
Its “heartfelt thoughts and prayers” were with Ross and Taylor and their care providers, it said.
“Our commitment is to provide compassionate, quality care to every single patient, and this loss is heartbreaking,” the hospital said.
It later added St Julian was not an employee of the hospital, and it had “taken the appropriate steps in response to this unfortunate situation”.
Calls to St Julian’s office went unanswered and an email message was not immediately returned.
St Julian is a board-certified obstetrician and gynaecologist who has been practising in the Atlanta area since January 2005.
Hospital spokesperson Kimberly Golden-Benner said St Julian is part of a health care group called Premier Women’s Obgyn, which has two locations offering circumcisions, infertility treatment and other services in addition to low-risj and high-risk obstetric care.
According to the lawsuit, the baby became stuck during delivery but St Julian delayed a surgical procedure and failed to seek help quickly.
A lawyer for Jessica Ross, 20, and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr, 21, announces the lawsuit alleging a doctor decapitated their baby during delivery. Credit: NBC
Instead, she applied “ridiculously excessive force” on the baby’s head and neck to try to deliver it, lawyer Roderick Edmond, who is also a doctor, said.
Roughly three hours passed before St Julian took Ross, 20, for a cesarean section, according to the lawsuit.
By then, a foetal monitor had stopped registering a heartbeat.
The cesarean section removed the baby’s legs and body, but the head was delivered vaginally, according to Edmond.
The couple had asked for a C-section earlier, when the baby still could have survived, but were denied, Edmond said.
He said the case highlighted the higher rates of infant and maternal mortality for black women.
Ross and Taylor’s lawyers also accused Southern Regional staff of trying to cover up the decapitation by discouraging the couple from getting an autopsy, encouraging them to have their son cremated and wrapping and propping his body to make it appear the head was still attached.
The lawsuit alleges gross negligence, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified punitive damages.
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