Decapitated Baby's Death During Delivery Ruled Homicide by Medical Examiner
By Selena Richards | Posted on February 9, 2024
Photo Source: Sky News via Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
Jessica Ross and Treveon Taylor Sr. filed a lawsuit last year against Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Georgia and their obstetrician, Dr. Tracey St. Julian, following the tragic birth that resulted in the death of their son Treveon Taylor, Jr. The couple is accusing the hospital of gross negligence during the attempted vaginal delivery of their son on July 9, 2023 that resulted in the decapitation and death of their baby.
On Tuesday, a report from the Clayton County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that the cause of death is ruled a homicide.
The lawsuit alleges that despite the occurrence of a fetal emergency known as shoulder dystocia, hospital personnel failed to take the required measures to safely maneuver the complication. Shoulder dystocia, a complication of childbirth, occurs when the baby's shoulders become lodged behind the mother's pelvic bone after the delivery of the head. This obstruction can impede the baby's passage through the birth canal, posing potential risks to both the baby and the mother.
Following three hours of unsuccessful attempts to safely free the baby, the obstetrician resorted to a Cesarean section, during which the infant's body was delivered, tragically already deceased due to excessive force applied during the attempted vaginal delivery. Following the birth, the couple alleges that they were denied the opportunity to hold their son and were not made aware of the cause of death.
As previously reported by People, the couple's attorney stated on Wednesday that following the infant's passing, hospital personnel attempted to coerce them into cremating the body purportedly to destroy evidence and informed them that they were ineligible to receive a county-funded autopsy.
The parents only learned of their son's decapitation three days after delivery when they were contacted by the Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home in Atlanta where they intended to arrange funeral services for their child. In an interview with CNN, the general manager Sylvania Watkins explained that she had observed that the baby's head was disconnected from its body and immediately notified the family and contacted the county medical examiner’s office.
As investigations by the Clayton County Police Department and the District Attorney's Office continue, the hospital has denied any wrongdoing and allegations of negligence.