In Clayton County, GA, a family filed a lawsuit, the 9th, about healthcare professionals decapitating a baby during childbirth and trying to cover it up. The lawsuit is against Southern Regional Medical Center, its medical personnel, and Premier Women’s OBGYN LLC following the decapitation and death of a newborn during childbirth. The family is represented by the law firm Edmond & Lindsey, LLP.
On July 9th, 20-year-old Jessica Ross was undergoing childbirth when a complication known as shoulder dystocia occurred. This is a medical emergency where the baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the mother’s birth canal during childbirth. The baby was an otherwise healthy, full-term boy and was to be named after the father, Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr.
The lawsuit states that despite the severity of the situation, Dr. Tracey St. Julian of Premier Women’s OBGYN LLC “attempted to deliver the baby vaginally using different methods, including applying traction to the baby’s head.” It goes on to say that the doctor “failed to do a Cesarean section in a timely and proper manner, resulting in Treveon Isaiah Taylor Jr.’s decapitation and death.”
Image: Dr. Tracey St. Julian
According to the suit, the doctor allegedly “applied excessive traction” on the baby’s head, causing it to detach. When it was too late, the mother was finally taken to receive a C-section to remove the baby’s body.
According to Dr. Roderick Edmond, who is representing the couple, stated, “When the womb was open, the feet came out, the body came out, and there was no head.” Dr. Edmond also stated that “My clients asked for a C-section much sooner than it was ever delivered while the baby was viable.”
Instead of telling the family what had occurred, the nurses wrapped up the baby, propped the head on the blanket, and wouldn’t allow them to hold their baby. The family’s ordeal was further compounded when they were only allowed a restricted viewing of their deceased child, whose presentation intentionally concealed the decapitation.
When the parents demanded to see their baby, the hospital staff “told them that they were not allowed to touch or hold their child.” The statement made by the family claims that the “Hospital staff allowed the young couple to only view their dead child.” The way the baby was presented to the family was made so that “those viewing him could not identify that he had been decapitated.”
The mother and father were not made aware of their baby’s decapitation until four days after the incident. The family claims that they were originally advised that an autopsy “was not warranted” and were told the remains should be cremated.
The lawsuit alleges that the nurses involved in the care of Ross and her son failed to document their care accurately and failed to advocate for the patient. This could have serious consequences for the nurses, as they could be held liable for the death of the baby, and face criminal charges, such as manslaughter or negligent homicide. Additionally, they could be sued by the family of the baby for wrongful death. The nurses are also at risk to lose their licenses to practice nursing.
Nurses who were involved in the incident are currently being referred to as “Nurses John Jane Does #1-6” in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states “ There is no documentation of any nurse or Dr. St. Julian activating any emergency obstetrical protocol in a timely manner after the shoulder dystocia was recognized.”
The lawsuit goes on to further state that “there is no documentation of any nurse or Dr. St. Julian attempting to alert the in-house obstetrical hospitalist in a timely manner after the shoulder dystocia was recognized and prior to that hospitalist being called in to help with the repair of the proctoepisiotomy after the baby was already decapitated and dead.”
Furthermore, when the patient was not in the correct position the lawsuit mentioned, “after recognition of the shoulder dystocia, Ms. Ross was not in McRobert’s positioning.”
No nurse spoke up to do the right thing during this emergent situation as “there is no documentation in the medical records of any nurse or other allied health professional involved in Ms. Ross’ care advocating for a STAT Cesarean section to be done.”
No documented action was taken about the distress noted on the fetal monitor strips “fetal monitor strips show repeated and consistent Category 3 strips beginning at 9:26 pm With persistent late decelerations until approximately 10:36 pm. There is no documentation of any resuscitative measures taken in response to the persistent Category 3 fetal monitor strips.”
The lawsuit notes that the nurses “failed to practice according to nursing standards generally and were grossly negligent” and that the nurses “grossly negligently failed to ensure advocacy on their part.”
Currently, an autopsy is being conducted by the county’s medical examiner’s office to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the baby’s death.
The Clayton County Police Department has launched an active investigation into this incident, as confirmed through their official Twitter account.
The lawsuit, filed with the demand for a trial by jury, seeks compensatory and punitive damages. The family is also requesting $10,000 for funeral expenses.
In an interview with CNN, Southern Regional Medical Center “denies the allegations in the complaint referencing the hospital.” The delivering doctor is not an employee of the hospital itself, and the hospital claims to have taken appropriate action in this situation.
Southern Regional Medical Center made a statement saying, “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. Our commitment is to provide compassionate, quality care to every single patient, and this loss is heartbreaking.”
Nurse.org has reached out to Southern Regional Medical Center and has not received a response at time of publication.