A funeral home in Clayton County, Georgia, received a decapitated baby from a local hospital and now police are investigating the circumstances of the infant's death during or shortly after delivery. The funeral home's manager "knew something wasn't right," reports WAFN there.
In a conversation with the baby's grandmother, Watkins said he immediately knew that the family did not know the baby's head was detached from his body.
"They didn't know. They did not know," Watkins said. "And to see the pain and the anguish as if like what really just happened, your heart goes out to them," he said.
On Wednesday, the family's attorneys, while announcing a lawsuit against the hospital and medical staff involved in the birth, said that the family was notified of the baby's state by the funeral home, and not the hospital.
Watkins said he also called the Clayton County Medical Examiner's Office which sent an investigator to the funeral home to begin a probe into what happened during and following the birth.
"I can never recall a time that we have received a phone call from a funeral home saying we need to report this type of death," said Brian Byars, director of the Clayton County Medical Examiner's Office.
Malice? Incompetence? And what else….
According to 2022 state data, there were 12.2 Black infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 5.4 white infant deaths, per 1,000 live births.
"When we see systemic issues like that. This is a culture problem," said Kimberly Seals Allers, a maternal and infant health advocate. And these are the things that need to be rooted out not just at this facility but out of health care providers who have grown to dehumanize us and our infants."
According to the complaint, 20-year-old Jessica Ross's water broke at 10 a.m. July 9 and she went to the emergency department at Prime Healthcare Service, Inc. d/b/a Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale.
At approximately 8:40 p.m., Ross was fully dilated and instructed to begin pushing. The complaint says the baby stopped descending due to shoulder dystocia while being delivered vaginally and Dr. Tracey St. Julian, M.D., reportedly attempted to deliver the baby vaginally using different methods, including applying traction to the baby's head.
In a nutshell: the doctor removed the baby's head during delivery. There are reasons this might have been necessary, but the hospital tried to cover it up.