Couple sues metro Atlanta hospital after they say doctor decapitated baby during birth

RIVERDALE, Ga. — **WARNING: The details of this story are disturbing and may be graphic for some.

A family is suing a local hospital after they say a doctor decapitated their child during the birth.

Channel 2′s Michael Doudna was in Riverdale Wednesday, where the family’s lawyer announced the suit against Southern Regional Medical Center, the hospital where 20-year-old Jessica Ross went into labor with her first child on July 9.

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What happened from there is laid out in a lawsuit alleging multiple missteps and an effort to lie and deceive and try to cover up the horrific incident.

“This is one of the most sad, egregious, and horrific situations that I’ve ever seen,” attorney Dr. Roderick Edmond said. “Their hopes turned into a nightmare that was covered up by the Southern Regional Medical Center.”


The lawsuit alleges that after 10 hours of labor, the baby got stuck and that the family’s doctor, Dr. Tracey St. Julian, continued for hours to try to pull the baby out.

According to the lawsuit, doctors “pulled on the baby’s head and neck so hard and manipulated them so hard, that the bones in the baby’s skull, head and neck were broken.”

Hours later, the lawsuit claims that doctors performed a C-section and found the baby decapitated. Instead of telling the couple, the lawsuit says doctors tried to cover up what happened by telling them they didn’t have the right to a free autopsy, encouraging cremation and concealing what happened when they asked to see the child.

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“When they wrapped the baby up tightly, they propped the baby’s head on top of the blanket to make it appear like the head was attached when it wasn’t,” Edmond said.

Susan Witt is a medical malpractice attorney who looked through the case with Channel 2 Action News.

Witt said the clear and obvious choice would have been to perform a Cesarean section.

“That is an attempt to defraud and deceive the family,” Witt said. “I think this is one of the most outrageous situations I’ve seen in my 25 years of practicing law.”

The family said it wasn’t until the funeral home raised the red flag that the parents would learn the truth, four days after Ross went into labor.

Now, a family, mother and father are dealing with grief while suing the people they believe responsible.

Doudna tried to reach St. Julian but received no response.

Clayton County police are now investigating the case.

The hospital said that patient privacy laws do not allow them to discuss what happened, but call the loss “heartbreaking” and said their heartfelt prayers are with the family and the team that cared for the patient.