ATLANTA (TCD) — A local hospital is facing a major malpractice lawsuit after a couple claimed their doctor decapitated their baby during childbirth and failed to contact other doctors in the hospital during the process.
On Wednesday, Aug. 9, attorneys for Jessica Ross and Treveon Taylor spoke at a press conference and outlined the allegations against Southern Regional Medical Center, an affiliate of the Prime Healthcare Foundation, in their wrongful death suit. Attorneys also allege fraud and intentional emotional distress due to misrepresentation. Ross and Taylor are seeking punitive damages.
One of the attorneys, Cory Lynch, said Southern Regional Medical Center “tried to hide what actually happened.” The hospital did not report Treveon Taylor Jr.’s death to the Clayton County authorities; rather, police learned after a funeral home contacted them. Ross and Taylor’s families were reportedly informed about the decapitation from the funeral home.
Ross’ doctor, Tracey St. Julian, M.D., reportedly “came clean” only after Ross was discharged from the hospital.
According to Lynch, the hospital allegedly told Taylor and Ross to have their child cremated, and if they wanted an autopsy, they’d have to pay for it themselves.
Ross and Taylor met in high school and were “so excited” to have their first child together. Ross went to Premier Care for Women because they lived close to it and there were female doctors there, which is how they met St. Julian. Lynch said the couple “thought they would get the best care there, but their dreams and hopes turned into a nightmare that was covered up by Southern Regional Healthcare.”
WAGA-TV, which cites the criminal complaint, reports Ross and Taylor are also claiming Premier Care is “liable for the grossly negligent acts and omissions of its employee and/or agent Tracey St. Julian, M.D., who cared for Ms. Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Jr. on or about July 9, 2023.”
Dr. Roderick Edmond, who is also representing Ross and Taylor, said Ross’ water broke July 9 at approximately 10 a.m. She went to the labor and delivery department at Southern Regional Medical Center, where nurses hooked her up to an IV to help speed up delivery. She was 37 weeks pregnant.
About 10 hours later, at 8:40 p.m., she was fully dilated and her doctors told her to start pushing. According to Edmond, Treveon Jr.’s shoulder got stuck during the delivery.
Edmond and Lynch allege St. Julian used “ridiculously excessive force” when she pulled the baby’s head and neck. Edmond said the bones in Treveon Jr.’s skull, neck, and face were broken in the process. St. Julian eventually performed a C-section on Ross, but, according to Edmond, “The feet came out, the body came out, and there was no head.”
The head was reportedly delivered vaginally.
Their attorneys claim St. Julian and nurses at the hospital were negligent for not contacting other doctors on the floor to assist and not advocating for Ross to get a C-section earlier in the delivery.
In addition, Lynch said at the press conference that hospital staff would not let Ross and Taylor see or hold their newborn. At one point, staff “wrapped the child very tight so they could not see what happened. They propped the head up to make it appear the baby’s head was attached.”
The couple was only allowed to see their son through glass.
WXIA-TV shared a statement released by Southern Regional Medical Center, which said, “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.”
The statement also said the hospital “denies the allegations of wrongdoing in the Complaint referencing the hospital” and that Treveon Jr. died “in utero prior to the delivery and decapitation.”
Southern Regional Medical Center said St. Julian “is not and never has been an employee of the hospital.”