Mom sues Lawrence County over seizure of newborn

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For the second time in a year, Lawrence County Children and Youth Services has been accused in a federal lawsuit of removing a child from a mother's custody after a positive test for opiates allegedly triggered by poppy seeds.

Eileen Ann Bower, a Lawrence County resident whose residence and age were not provided, gave birth to a son, Brandon, on July 13, 2009, according to a complaint filed late Friday. She was stunned, it said, when a blood test at Jameson Hospital came back positive for opiates.

Brandon was taken into foster care three days after his birth, it said, and only returned on Sept. 29. In the interim, Ms. Bower came to the conclusion that the test must have come back positive due to her ingestion, at her last meal before childbirth, of Salad Supreme dressing with poppy seeds.

Ms. Bower is suing the county agency, its caseworker and Jameson Health System for negligence, invasion of privacy and violation of due process, according to the complaint by attorney Stanley T. Booker.

Lawrence County Children and Youth Services Director Jane Gajda could not be immediately reached for comment.

In October, New Castle mother Elizabeth Mort sued the county and Jameson Health, alleging that a poppy seed bagel spurred a positive test for opiates in April 2010 that prompted the seizure of her baby, Isabella Rodriguez. She is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, and the litigation is ongoing.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542


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