RIVERDALE, Ga. - The Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office has asked the Georgia Composite Medical Board to investigate the doctors and nurses connected to the alleged decapitation of a baby during childbirth at Southern Regional Medical Center.
Jessica Ross was rushed to the hospital in Riverdale after her water broke on July 9, according to a lawsuit filed by the family.
The baby — Treveon Isaiah Taylor, Jr.—reportedly became stuck due to shoulder dystocia. Dr. Tracy St. Julian allegedly tried for hours to deliver the child vaginally. Shortly before midnight, the decision was made to perform a Cesarean section and the infant’s body was delivered. The head was delivered vaginally.
Police investigating, lawsuit filed after baby allegedly decapitated during delivery at metro Atlanta hospital
The lawsuit claims that Dr. St. Julian did not tell Ross and her family about the decapitation when she spoke to them at approximately 5 a.m. on July 10. The lawsuit also claims the hospital discouraged Ross and the baby’s father, Treveon Taylor Sr., from seeking an autopsy, saying a free autopsy was not an option for them under the circumstances. Instead, they reportedly encouraged the couple to have their son cremated instead of being sent to a funeral home.
When Ross and Taylor demanded to see and hold their child, the baby was reportedly tightly wrapped in a blanket with his head "propped on top of his body" to conceal the fact that he was decapitated.
The family was ultimately told about the decapitation by the funeral home, according to the family’s lawyer.
Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home also contacted the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office on July 13.
"They informed us that the family had a private autopsy performed, but because of the trauma injuries and circumstances involved, they wanted to make sure it was reported to our office. We are grateful for their call, because the incident had not yet been reported to us," Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office Director Brian Byars stated in a release sent to FOX 5 on Friday.
An investigator was assigned to the case and reached out to the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office to ask for help from its Pediatric Forensic Pathologist team in performing an autopsy, which took place the next day.
Hospital says infant died prior to delivery, decapitation
After reviewing the preliminary results of the autopsy, investigators reached out to the state agencies overseeing the doctor and nurses who were on-duty during the birth.
"We are currently in the process of notifying the Georgia Secretary of State Office Board of Nursing of the incident and will request that they also investigate the nursing staff’s role in this incident," Byars wrote.
The Clayton County Police Department also launched its own criminal investigation.
Thursday, Southern Regional Medical Center released a statement saying the infant's death occurred "in utero prior to the delivery and decapitation." They also said that the doctor who delivered the baby, Dr. Tracy St. Julian, is not and "never has been" an employee of the hospital.
Meanwhile, the Taylors are waiting for answers.