New Castle woman settles for $143,000 after hospital, county took her baby

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The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that Jameson Hospital and Lawrence County Children and Youth Services have agreed to pay $143,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman whose newborn was seized following a false positive drug test.

Elizabeth Mort, the mother of the infant, believed that a poppy seed bagel she ate before going to the hospital to deliver caused the false finding that she had consumed opiates. The test prompted the county agency to take her daughter, Isabella, for five days.

The hospital had used a different, lower standard for reporting findings of maternal drug use than that suggested by federal guidelines, the ACLU maintained. The hospital and the agency have changed their policies and now do not separate parents from their newborns solely on the basis of maternal drug tests, the ACLU said in its press release.

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


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