A Georgia couple is suing a Georgia hospital for $2 million, alleging that in May 2018, while the woman was 16 weeks pregnant, she went to the defendant hospital where she delivered her stillborn fetus while sitting on the toilet in the hospital ER, and that a nurse and doctor then flushed the fetus down the toilet. Days later, on May 7, 2018, employees at the Augusta Wastewater Treatment plant discovered the fetus, which was subsequently determined to be the woman’s fetus as a result of DNA testing.
The woman complained of excruciating abdominal pain when she went to the hospital ER. She alleges in her Georgia hospital negligence lawsuit that she was made to wait 45 minutes before being seen by nurses in the ER. She was then sent back to the waiting room, where her contractions were five minutes apart and she was experiencing nausea and vomiting. When she was finally seen by a physician, she had an ultrasound that confirmed that her fetus had a heart rate of 150, according to the lawsuit. Despite being in pain and requesting treatment, the woman was told to leave the ER by the physician, according to the lawsuit.
The woman alleges that she then attempted to go to a restroom in the ER but she vomited and her water broke. She was given a hospital gown and wet wipes but not examined after her water broke. She alleges that she then went to the bathroom, sat on the toilet, and her fetus was then delivered into the toilet. She ran from the bathroom, screaming “I’ve lost my baby!”, after which she was told to clean herself by a nurse and a physician, and to return to an exam room, according to her lawsuit.
The Georgia lawsuit alleges that the nurse and physician then went to the bathroom and flushed the stillborn fetus, and subsequently told the woman that she had suffered a miscarriage and that “everything went down the drain.” The woman alleges in her lawsuit that her hospital medical records were falsified by the medical staff, indicating that only tissue and clots were in the toilet (not a stillborn fetus).
The plaintiffs seek not only compensatory damages for physical pain and mental distress but also punitive damages for conduct that “shows willfulness, malice, wantonness, oppression, and that entire want of care which raises the presumption of a conscious indifference to the circumstances.” The couple’s lawsuit alleges medical malpractice, improper disposal of the fetus, and doing so without consent.
A statement from the defendant hospital stated that the couples’ lawsuit had not yet been reviewed “but we have spent a great deal of time investigating the patient’s course of care, and we feel confident that no one intentionally flushed a fetus down the toilet.”
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