Couple sue doctor after newborn baby ‘decapitated’ during delivery

Parents allege hospital staff propped up their baby son to make it appear his head was still attached

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 10 August 2023 16:36 BST
Mother's infant decapitated during child birth: Lawsuit
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A couple in Georgia have accused a doctor of using excessive force which allegedly decapitated their baby during delivery.

First-time parents Jessica Ross, 20, and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr, 21, claim Tracey St Julian, an ob-gyn specialist, and staff at Southern Regional Medical Center then tried to cover up the the decapitation by propping their son up to make it appear his head was still attached.

The couple’s attorneys announced they were suing Dr St Julian and the hospital in Riverdale, about 13 miles (20kms) south of Georgia, for gross negligence, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress at a press conference on Wednesday.

“They were so excited about the birth of their first child,” attorney Cory Lynch told reporters.

“Unfortunately, their dreams and hopes turned into a nightmare that was covered up by Southern Regional Medical Center.”

The hospital said privacy laws prevented it from discussing individual patients, but that it denies the allegations in a statement to the Associated Press.

“Our commitment is to provide compassionate, quality care to every single patient, and this loss is heartbreaking,” it said.

According to the lawsuit, the baby became stuck as Ms Ross was giving birth vaginally in the hospital on 9 July.

The couple 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, attorneys said.

The baby’s mother and father Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr (centre), with attorneys Roderick Edmond (left) and Cory Lynch (right)
The baby’s mother and father Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr (centre), with attorneys Roderick Edmond (left) and Cory Lynch (right) (AP)

The doctor 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, attorney Roderick Edmond, who is also a physician, told the press conference.

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

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.

The case was an example of the increased risk of infant and maternal mortality for Black women, Mr Edmond said.

Southern Regional Medical Center told the Associated Press that Dr St Julian was not an employee and it had “taken the appropriate steps in response to this unfortunate situation.”

Dr St Julian is described as a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist and certified robotic surgeon who has been practicing in the Atlanta area since 2005.

She is part of the Premier Women’s Obgyn healthcare organisation that provides midwifery, fertility and hormone replacement treatment in the Atlanta area.

Premier Women’s Obgyn did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Independent.

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