Poppy Seed Bagel Results in Removal of Infant from Mother

A Pennsylvania woman, whose newborn was taken from her because of an alleged failed drug test, recently settled a lawsuit against Lawrence County, PA child welfare agency and Jameson Hospital, located in New Castle, PA.

 The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, who filed the lawsuit for Elizabeth Mort in April 2010, announced that Mort settled the suit for $143,500.

According to a report in Yahoo News, Mort had eaten a poppy seed bagel shortly before she went into labor and went to Jameson Hospital to deliver her daughter. A routine blood test administered to Mort upon being admitting showed a false positive for opiates in her system. This information was forwarded to Lawrence County child welfare agency and they showed up at Mort’s house and with an emergency protective custody order removed her three-day old infant.

The baby was returned to her mother five days later after agency officials agreed that there was no evidence of any drug use by Mort.

In her lawsuit, Mort said she was not told that she had tested positive for drugs. She also accused the hospital of not inquiring if there was anything that she could have ingested that would have shown a false positive.

The suit also accused the hospital of not using federal guidelines for drug screening (which is 2000 nanograms per millimeter) and instead implementing much lower allowances (300 nanograms per millimeter). This lower standard often results in failed drug tests because of everyday food items ingested or legal medication a patient may have taken.

Since this incident occurred, changes have been made and the county and hospital no longer removes children based solely on a blood test.

As this case illustrates, even the most innocent of actions can result in one of a parent’s worst nightmare – removal of a child. If you are facing child custody issues, you need an experienced Naperville family law attorney to fight for you and your child.

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