A Missouri family filed a lawsuit late in September, citing claims that are some of the most horrific in medical malpractice case history. Arteisha Betts and Travis Ammonette of Missouri, according to the New York Daily News, claimed that their newborn child, Kaden Travis Ammonette, died when he was decapitated in the birth canal by the doctor trying to remove him from his mother in March of 2011.
Court documents, according to media reports, reveal that Dr. Susan Moore told the couple in February of 2011 that the child would need to be born via Caesarian section as his abdomen was unusually large, too large in fact for a normal birth. However, when the time came to deliver the child, the delivering physician refused to perform a c-section as Dr. Moore had instructed. He instead opted for a vaginal birth. Attending doctor Gilbert Webb allegedly ignored the couple’s request to be transferred to another hospital.
According to the suit’s allegations, Kaden’s head was delivered normally, but as expected the child’s abdomen became stuck in the birth canal. The doctor then attempted to use traction on the child’s head, which pulled the head free of the cervical spine.
As bad as this sounds, the story only becomes more horrific moments later. The plaintiffs said that at this point blood from the child’s neck splattered across the delivery room in front of everyone present. Dr. Webb then pushed the child with its severed head back into the uterus, only then calling for an emergency Caesarian section. Again adding to the mind-numbing quality of this all, Webb allegedly began performing this procedure before the mother was under sedation.
These allegations seem too horrific to be true, but the details seem strong enough to have warranted a court filing. There is no word yet on whether a court date has been set for the case. If the allegations are true, then it will amount to one of the most terrible days in medicine. It remains to be seen whether the legally prescribed punishments for such an act are considered sufficient. If anything, this case makes a strong argument against capping plaintiffs’ potential damages in a lawsuit.