Baby decapitated during birth died before delivery, hospital claims; medical examiner says investigation continues

The negligence and fraud suit names several defendants, including the hospital, a doctor, several nurses and the medical group at large.
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 7:35 AM CDT
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RIVERDALE, Ga. (Atlanta News First/Gray News) - The Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the death of an infant that was decapitated during birth, while the hospital claims the baby was dead before the delivery.

“I think I can speak for everybody that’s been involved in this case, it’s traumatizing,” said Brian Byars, director of the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The medical examiner’s office said it is investigating what lead up to Treveon Isaiah Taylor, Jr.’s death. Taylor’s parents are suing Southern Regional Medical Center and those involved in his delivery at the Riverdale hospital.

The medical examiner’s office said the active investigation limits their ability to comment but did confirm that on July 13 the office was contacted by Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home in Riverdale. The medical examiner’s office said they were notified of a “deceased infant [the funeral home] had in their care that had been reported as decapitated during childbirth.”

“They informed us that the family had a private autopsy performed, but because of the trauma injuries and circumstances involved, they wanted to make sure it was reported to our office. We are grateful for their call because the incident had not yet been reported to us,” the medical examiner’s office said.

On Thursday, Southern Regional Medical Center said in a statement that the hospital did report the infant’s death to the medical examiner and is cooperating with all investigations.

Byars said the hospital did not self-report the incident, but is cooperating with the county’s investigation.

The hospital said in a statement that the baby died in utero before delivery, and the doctor named in the lawsuit is “not and never has been an employee of the hospital.”

The hospital added, “Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the family and all those impacted by this tragic event. Our prayers also remain with the dedicated team of physicians, nurses and staff at Southern Regional Medical Center who cared for this patient. As our deepest sympathies remain with the family, Southern Regional Medical Center denies the allegations of wrongdoing in the complaint referencing the hospital.”

The Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office chief investigator has requested an autopsy be done by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Medical Examiner’s Office. The chief investigator also met with the Clayton County Police Department — the agency is also investigating Taylor’s death.

“You have so many people looking at this from so many different angles that are completely independent from each other,” said Byars.

“I have no doubt the truth will come out, and the public should rest assured they will get an honest answer and an honest review of what happened,” Byars continued, in an interview Thursday with Atlanta News First.

The results of the autopsy have not been released at this time.

“We have notified the Georgia Composite Medical Board of the incident and requested that they also investigate three doctor’s roles in this incident,” the medical examiner’s office said. “We are currently in the process of notifying the Georgia Secretary of State Office Board of Nursing of the incident and will request that they also investigate the nursing staff’s role in this incident.”