Attorneys for the parents say they were notified by the funeral home, not the hospital, about the decapitation
The couple whose baby was decapitated during birth were not told about the decapitation until three days after their son’s death, the family’s attorneys tell PEOPLE.
Jessica Ross went into labor on July 9, 2023 and her delivery began early on the morning of July 10 at Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Ga.. During the delivery, the shoulder of the baby, Treveon Isaiah Taylor Jr., became stuck in the vaginal canal, creating a medical emergency known as shoulder dystocia.
The newborn died during the delivery, and on Tuesday, the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that the cause of death was homicide, the result of a complete severing of the baby’s upper cervical spine.
The family’s attorneys Cory Lynch and Roderick Edmond have previously claimed in a fraud and negligence lawsuit that the attending physician subjected the baby’s head to “excessive traction” and failed to perform a C-section in a timely manner, CNN reported at the time.
Following the baby’s death, Lynch tells PEOPLE that hospital staff did not tell the parents that their baby had been decapitated. Rather, on July 13, Willie A. Watkins Funeral home informed both the parents and the medical examiner’s office about the state of the remains, three days after Ross and her partner, Treveon Sr., were told their baby had died.
“They were unaware, they were told that the baby didn’t make it,” Lynch tells PEOPLE. “They were not told of the condition of the body.”
Edmond, himself a medical doctor who formerly practiced medicine, tells PEOPLE the doctor “specifically withheld” information about the decapitation.
“It is completely unacceptable for the doctor to withhold information like this from patients at any point,” he says.
Further, speaking as someone with a medical background, Edmond says “the truth is the protocol.”
Both attorneys tell PEOPLE they have never seen a case like this before.
At a press conference held earlier Wednesday, Edmond reiterated the claim that after learning the baby had died, the parents asked to see and hold the baby, before being told they could look at the baby through a glass. What they saw was wrapped the baby and propped up his head, the attorney said, which the parents believe constituted an attempt to conceal what had happened to their child.
Edmond and Lynch both said at the press conference that their focus was on the civil case and did not speculate whether they believe the medical examiner's homicide ruling meant there was a crime committed.
In its press release, the medical examiner’s office clarified that the cause of death of homicide means the death was “caused by the actions of another person,” which does not necessarily indicate a crime was committed.
Edmond claimed at the press conference that doctors should have called for additional resources when they became aware of the shoulder dystocia. He added that the baby's neck was broken while the doctor "was applying excessive traction on the baby’s neck in the face of shoulder dystocia.”
Treveon Sr. and Ross both appeared at the press conference Wednesday, and the former spoke publicly for the first time.
"We just want justice for our son,” he said. Referencing hospital staff, he alleged, “They lied to us.”
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Ross, who was overcome with emotion Wednesday, did not speak.
"This has been a traumatic experience for them," Lynch says. "Their family has thankfully rallied around them."
After the death was ruled a homicide, Southern Regional Medical Center told CNN it could not comment due to the pending litigation.
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