ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis) — A lawsuit filed by a Florissant, Mo., couple claims that doctors cut off the head of their baby during birth, then tried to conceal it by placing the body and severed head back into the birth canal.
The expecting parents, Arteisha Betts and Travis Ammonette, lost the baby, Kaden Travis Ammonette, during a 2011 delivery that ended in tragedy, according to Courthouse News Service.
In February 2011, the couple met with Dr. Susan Moore, who informed them that the child should be delivered by Caesarean birth, due to its exceptionally large abdomen. Betts allegedly went into labor just one month later, at only 28 weeks and five days into her pregnancy, The Daily Mail reported.
At the time of the birth at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, Moore, along with Dr. Gilbert Webb, reportedly pressured the couple to deliver vaginally after Webb refused to perform the operation, despite earlier advice from Moore to deliver via C-section.
“Believing she had no other choice than to agree to a trial of vaginal delivery, … Betts consented to a trial of vaginal delivery under duress and protest,” the complaint, obtained by Courthouse News Service, reads.
During the birth, Kaden’s body allegedly became stuck inside the birth canal due to the size of his abdomen, after the head and one arm had been delivered successfully. When Webb attempted to apply traction to the child’s underarm and head to dislodge him, he allegedly removed Kaden’s head from his body.
“Webb … separated [Kaden’s] head from his cervical spine – [w]hen defendant Webb separated [the child’s] head from his cervical spine, [his] body was still inside … Betts’ birth canal,” the lawsuit is quoted as saying. “When … Webb separated [Kaden’s] head from his cervical spine, blood from the arteries and veins in [the child’s] neck shot out, splattered and/or spilled out into the labor and delivery room in plain view of and in close proximity to [the] plaintiffs.”
The complaint reportedly goes on to state that Webb then attempted to put the baby’s body, along with its head, back into the birth canal before calling for an emergency C-section.
“While personnel … moved … Betts to an operating room while still on her labor and delivery bed, and before … Betts was administered any anesthetic or anesthesia, … Webb began making the cesarean section incision into … Betts’ abdomen, causing [her] significant physical pain and suffering,” the lawsuit is quoted as stating. “During the course of the cesarean section, … Webb surgically and completely removed [Kaden’s] head from his neck and torso.”
In the lawsuit, Midwest Maternal & Fetal Medicine Services, Signature Medical Group, and both Webb and Moore are all reportedly named as defendants. However, though the birth was said to take place there, the St. Louis hospital was not named in the complaint.
According to Courthouse News Service, the couple is hoping to receive punitive damages for wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress and medical negligence.