A Missouri obstetrician separated a baby’s head from his body during delivery and then shoved the newborn back into the mother and performed an emergency C-section to cover up the ghastly blunder, a couple claims in a lawsuit.
Arteisha Betts and Travis Ammonette, of Florissant, filed a 10-count complaint in St. Louis County Circuit Court last month claiming doctors wrongly pushed them to have a vaginal delivery, decapitated their son and then tried to cover it up, according to local Patch and Courthouse News Service.
The details of the couple’s claim are horrifying.
During a February 2011 appointment, the couple claimed, Dr. Susan Moore told them their baby boy would have to be delivered by caesarian because his abdomen was too large for a normal birth, according the CNS report.
Betts went into labor on March 22, just 28 weeks into what is normally a 40-week pregnancy.
The delivering doctor at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, Dr. Gilbert Webb, refused to perform a C-section and “would only agree to deliver her baby by way of attempted trial of vaginal delivery,” the complaint said, according to Patch.
Webb refused to allow them to go to a different hospital, and “Betts consented to a trial of vaginal delivery under duress and protest,” the complaint said.
During the birth, the boy’s head breached, but the rest of his body got stuck in the birth canal, the complaint said.
In an attempt to pull the boy loose, Webb applied traction to his head and “separated (the boy’s) head from his cervical spine,” the complaint said.
Blood “shot out” from the newborn’s neck in full view of his parents, the complaint said.
Webb then “pushed” the boy’s head and body back into the birth canal and scrambled to perform a C-section, slicing into Betts before anesthesia kicked in, the complaint said.
During the procedure, Webb “surgically and completely removed” the boy’s head from his body, the complaint said.
The doctor then tried to cover up the boy’s wounds before handing him over to his parents — though the complaint doesn’t say how he did this.
The suit, filed in late September, names Webb and Moore, along with Midwest Maternal & Fetal Medicine Services and Signature Medical Group as defendants.
The couple accused the group of wrongful death and negligence and is seeking unspecified damages.
The hospital was not named in the suit.
None of the defendants have commented on the case.