Georgia Baby’s Decapitation During Labor by Midwife Declared Homicide by Medical Examiner

An attorney for a Georgia couple whose baby was decapitated during delivery last year said Wednesday that the hospital and their physician were not open about the baby’s cause of death, repeating charges made in a lawsuit filed last year.

The Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday that the baby’s death had been considered a homicide.

According to the couple’s lawsuit, Roderick Edmond, the attorney for parents Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor, accused their obstetrician at the time, Dr. Tracey St. Julian, of failing to warn them that their infant had been decapitated after delivery.

Georgia Baby's Decapitation During Labor by Midwife Declared Homicide by Medical Examiner

“Every aspect of the evidence that shows what happened is traumatizing,” Edmond stated during a press briefing. “It’s something I’ve never seen in my life.”

Ross and Taylor sued Southern Regional Medical Center and their obstetrician, St. Julian, in August, alleging she used “ridiculously excessive force” while attempting to deliver their son, who was beheaded, Edmond told NBC News. At the news conference, Edmond stated that the litigation was still in its early phases of discovery.

According to a news release, the medical examiner’s office determined that the baby’s death was a homicide caused by the conduct of another person. According to the report, the baby’s death was caused immediately by a fracture of the cervical vertebrae in the spine.

Taylor, the baby’s father, spoke publicly for the first time during Wednesday’s news conference, claiming he and his girlfriend were misled and barred from touching their kid.

“We just want justice for our son,” Taylor explained.

The infant, whom the couple called Treveon Isaiah Taylor Jr., did not descend properly during delivery, most likely due to shoulder dystocia, a condition in which a baby’s shoulder becomes caught behind the mother’s pubic bone during labor. Ross’ labor started on July 9.

According to the couple’s lawsuit, Ross requested a cesarean section when her kid “was viable” but was denied. Instead, she pushed for three hours but did not deliver her baby.

The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health reports that the pushing phase of childbirth often lasts 30 minutes to three hours. According to the lawsuit, St. Julian, who works in a private practice and is not hired by the hospital, attempted to deliver the baby vaginally using a variety of techniques, including applying traction to the baby’s head.

According to the lawsuit, this resulted in decapitation and other injuries, such as various skull and facial bone fractures. The baby’s body was delivered via emergency C-section.

Betty Honey, the medical examiner’s top investigator, became engaged in the case after a funeral home in charge of the baby’s arrangements stated it was “unusual” that the medical examiner’s office had not previously been involved, according to a news release.

Georgia Baby's Decapitation During Labor by Midwife Declared Homicide by Medical Examiner

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Medical Examiner’s Office conducted another autopsy on July 14. In October, Honey and Brian Byars, director of the medical examiner’s office, sought independent feedback from obstetricians. Honey also hired a private forensic pathologist on January 18 to analyze the evidence and identify the baby’s cause of death, according to the release.

A representative for Southern Regional Medical Center stated that the hospital was unable to comment on the verdict “due to ongoing litigation.” In August, the medical facility issued a statement denying “the allegations of wrongdoing” and stating that “this unfortunate infant death occurred in utero prior to delivery and decapitation.”

The hospital also stated that they voluntarily reported the death to the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office and are “cooperating with all investigations.”

St. Julian and her office did not respond to a request for comment on the medical examiner’s announcement.

The lawsuit claimed that St. Julian and the nurses at Southern Regional Medical Center “did not meet the standards of care.” Ross and Taylor also stated in the lawsuit that they did not get the opportunity to hold their child.

“We’re going to depose everybody who was in the room,” Edmond stated at the news conference. “All the nurses, all the scrub techs — everybody — to find out, essentially, what the hell happened.”

Maj. Frank Thomas, a Clayton County police spokeswoman, said the case is still under investigation and did not release any other information. According to the notice from the medical examiner’s office, the matter may be sent to the Clayton County district attorney’s office.

It has “been tough on the whole family,” and the couple has sought counseling, according to Cory Lynch, another attorney representing the couple at the meeting.

“They have been strong and resilient with trying to move forward with life and get back to not normal, but a new normal, given the grief that they have sustained,” he went on to say.


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