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Death of baby who was decapitated during birth has been ruled as homicide by medical examiner

Rhianna Benson

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Death of baby who was decapitated during birth has been ruled as homicide by medical examiner

Featured Image Credit: Fox 5

An infant who died during birth and was decapitated as a doctor attempted to save him has been ruled as the victim of a homicide.

In July 2023, pregnant 20-year-old Jessica Ross waters broke before she was rushed to Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Georgia.

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But what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of Jessica and her partner Treveon Isaiah Taylor's life soon turned their lives upside down, after her labour suffered several serious medical complications.

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In a fraud and negligence lawsuit later filed by the couple, it was allleged their baby's shoulder had become lodged in her vaginal canal, meaning this 'shoulder dystocia' would prevent her from giving birth naturally.

The lawsuit claimed that doctor Dr. Tracey St. Julian performed a cesarean section too late and applied ‘excessive tension’ on the baby’s head, causing it to detach from the body.

Jessica and Treveon named several defendants including Southern Regional Medical Center, the doctor in question, several assisting nurses and the medical group at large, per a statement from law firm Edmond & Lindsay, LLP.

The couple also alleged that medical staff did not immediately tell the mother and father what happened.

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According to their claims, doctors wouldn't allow Jessica and Treveon to hold their deceased baby - who was delivered at full term - instead showing the infant wrapped in a blanket with the detached head being propped up on top.

The young parents, Jessica and Treveon, said the hospital tried to conceal the baby's alleged decapitation. Credit: Fox 5
The young parents, Jessica and Treveon, said the hospital tried to conceal the baby's alleged decapitation. Credit: Fox 5

The pair were reportedly encouraged by staff to have their child's remains cremated, advising them that an autopsy wasn't necessary.

In fact, they claimed that it wasn't until four days after the tragedy that they were told their baby had been decapitated.

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"This caused immediate, profound emotional and mental anguish for [the plaintiffs]... emotional and mental anguish that they continue to experience and most probably will experience for the rest of their lives," the complaint claimed.

The couple sought compensatory and punitive damages of more than $10,000.

Earlier this week, the Clayton county medical examiner ruled that the deceased child’s death was a homicide caused by the severing of the C1 and C2 cervical spine vertebrae.

Parts of the uppermost bones in the neck were also severed, according to a press release, with the family's layers adding that it was the broken neck that caused the baby to die.

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Treveon's father said in a press conference on Wednesday 7 February: "We just want justice for our son.

The couple sued staff at the hospital. Credit: Fox 5
The couple sued staff at the hospital. Credit: Fox 5

"They lied to us, they ain’t let us touch him, we didn’t like it. We just want justice for our son."

Jessica was also asked during the announcement whether criminal charges against the hospital staff are deserved, to which she replied: "Yes."

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Representatives for Dr. St Julian told press they 'reject the assertion that the injury suffered during this tragic event happened before the demise of the baby'.

They went on: "The official autopsy performed by the GBI did not classify a manner of death and stated that there was no sign of life upon delivery.

"Dr. St. Julian was faced with a dire obstetrical emergency where the mother’s life was in peril as well as the baby’s.

"Once it became clear that the baby did not survive the underlying severe shoulder dystocia (an unpreventable and unpredictable complication of delivery), the priority shifted to saving the mother’s life, which was thankfully accomplished."

A spokesperson for Souther Regional Medical Center told People: "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."

Tyla contacted Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor's representatives for comment.

Topics: Pregnancy, Parenting, Crime, US News

Rhianna Benson
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