Couple’s claim that doctor ‘decapitated’ their newborn baby during delivery is now under police investigation

The Clayton County Police Department said an investigation into the childbirth death at Southern Regional Medical Center is now underway

Andrea Blanco
Friday 11 August 2023 17:39 BST
Hospital responds to decapitated childbirth accusations

Georgia authorities are investigating allegations by a couple that their newborn baby was decapitated during delivery.

First-time parents Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale and OB-GYN specialist Tracey St Julian over the death of their newborn son on 9 July.

Ms Ross and Mr Taylor allege that their son stopped descending during vaginal delivery, with staff at the hospital then deciding to use a different method that reportedly cause the baby’s skull and neck to break. Dr St Julian then allegedly tried to conceal what had happened by propping the baby up to make it appear as though his head was still attached, the lawsuit claims.

On Thursday, the Clayton County Police Department confirmed that a probe has been opened into the infant’s death. The law enforcement agency said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages and couldn’t share more details at this time.

The Southern Regional Medical Center has denied the allegations of wrongdoing made by Ms Ross and Mr Taylor. The hospital said it couldn’t discuss the case further due to patient privacy and HIPAA laws, but noted that the “unfortunate infant death occurred in utero prior to the delivery and decapitation.”

“Our commitment is to provide compassionate, quality care to every single patient, and this loss is heartbreaking,” the statement read. “...The hospital voluntarily reported the death to the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s office and is cooperating with all investigations.”

The hospital said that Dr St Julian was not an employee at the facility, and it had “taken the appropriate steps in response to this unfortunate situation.” A spokesperson declined to elaborate when reached out by the Associated Press, citing the pending litigation.

Ms Ross and Mr Taylor’s attorney Cory Lynch announced during a press conference on Wednesday that the couple are suing for gross negligence, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“They were so excited about the birth of their first child,” Mr Lynch told reporters. “Unfortunately, their dreams and hopes turned into a nightmare that was covered up by Southern Regional Medical Center.”

Attorney Roderick Edmond, from left, joined by first-time parents Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr and Jessica Ross

According to the lawsuit, the baby became stuck as Ms Ross was giving birth. She and her partner requested a cesarean section, but this was denied and the doctor failed to seek help quickly, according to Mr Lynch.

Dr St Julian then applied “ridiculously excessive force” on the baby’s head to try to deliver it. The doctor allegedly delayed taking Ms Ross for a C-section for three hours, by which time a foetal monitor had stopped recording a heartbeat, according to the suit.

The baby’s legs and body were then delivered by C-section, while the head was delivered vaginally just after midnight on 10 July.

Doctors then allegedly tried to convince the couple the baby’s head was still attached by wrapping and propping up his body, the attorneys said.

Staff at the hospital allegedly discouraged the couple from seeking an autopsy and advised them to have the boy cremated, the lawsuit claims.

They only realised their baby had been decapitated when they took it to a funeral home, according to the suit.

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