ATLANTA – The death of a Georgia couple’s baby who was decapitated during childbirth has been classified by a medical examiner as a homicide, their attorneys announced Wednesday.
Treveon Taylor Jr.’s parents are suing the hospital and the doctor who delivered the baby in July. Both have denied any wrongdoing.
The Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office found the immediate cause of the baby’s death was a broken neck and said human action was to blame, according to a statement from the office distributed by attorneys at a news conference. on Wednesday.
The boy’s parents, Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr., say Dr. Tracey St. Julian delayed a surgical procedure and didn’t quickly seek help when the baby became stuck during delivery. Instead, they say she applied excessive force to the baby’s head and neck.
“This is something that is clearly contraindicated,” his lawyer Roderick Edmond, who is also a doctor, said Wednesday. “No credible, reasonably competent obstetrician should do this.”
St. Julian’s attorneys said they reject the conclusion that the baby’s injury occurred before his death.
“Although tragic, such a rare outcome has been reported in the medical literature and can occur in the absence of any wrongdoing on the part of the physician, as is the case here,” they said.
One of the attorneys, Scott Bailey, said in a court filing in September that the doctor used “every maneuver that a reasonable obstetrician would have employed” to deliver the baby when her shoulder became trapped.
Bailey’s filing also claimed that trauma to the baby’s head and neck occurred after the death, in the process of attempting to deliver the fetus by cesarean section and save Ross’s life. She accused attorneys for Ross and Taylor Sr. of making “lewdly false public statements” to the contrary.
The hospital where the baby was born, Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Georgia, also said the baby died in utero.
The hospital denied any negligence in a court filing in November, and spokeswoman Melinda Fulks said she could not comment Wednesday because of the lawsuit.
Clayton County police were investigating, with the possibility of referring the case to prosecutors, the medical examiner’s office said in its Jan. 6 news release.
Clayton Police Maj. Frank Thomas said in an email Wednesday that the case was still under investigation. The department will not comment on the details of active cases, he said.