Mother’s hospital drug screen registered false positive for opiates

Adan Salazar
July 3, 2013

Nowadays any number of things can lead the state to seize your kids, not the least of which: a bagel.

Photo by Jonathunder, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Jonathunder, via Wikimedia Commons
A Pennsylvania mother won a generous settlement yesterday following an incident that took place in April 2010 in which her newborn baby was wrongly abducted from her home by the state’s child welfare services.

At the time, Elizabeth Mort and her husband Alex Rodriguez were confused as to why their three-day-old child was being taken.

Only days later did they learn it was because Mort had failed a hospital drug screen administered either immediately before or after labor, which tested positive for opiates, a narcotic listed federally as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

Contrary to the test’s findings, Mort was not a drug addict.

Hours before delivering her baby at the Jameson Hospital in New Castle, PA, however, she did make the unfortunate mistake of chowing down an “everything” bagel from Dunkin Donuts topped with poppy seeds, causing the drug screen to register a false positive.

The state kept the newborn infant for five days, returning the child only after no evidence could be found indicating that the mother had used illegal drugs.

“The lawsuit alleged Mort was never told in the hospital that she had failed a drug test, nor was she asked if she had eaten anything that could have affected the test results,” reported the Associated Press.

As Gawker explains, “federal standards set the minimum detection rate at 2,000 nanograms per milliliter. Unfortunately for Mort, Jameson Hospital’s drug test… uses a minimum of 300 nanograms.”

In October 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on the parents’ behalf listing the Lawrence County Children and Youth Services (LCCYS) and Jameson Health System as defendants.

The suit alleged, “caseworkers and a police officer arrived unannounced at their door with a court order to remove their three-day-old infant,” and that during the five-day interim before the entities admitted their mistake, “Mort and Rodriguez… were forced to experience the unthinkable: The forcible seizure of their infant daughter by the state without any justification and the fear that they might not get her back.”

According to the suit, “Jameson requires all obstetrical patients admitted to the maternity care center at Jameson’s North Campus to undergo a urine drug screen (“UDS”) in order to identify those newborns with potential to demonstrate symptoms of drug withdrawal and to require special observation and treatment.”

On Tuesday, LCCYS and Jameson Hospital paid out a $143,500 reward to the parents, a victory the ACLU hopes will prevent similar wrongful abductions in the future. According to the Associated Press, ACLU staff attorney Sara Rose stated, “We hope that this case will encourage hospitals that routinely test pregnant women for drug use to reconsider that practice due to the harm that can result from false positives.”

This is yet another example of child welfare services working underhandedly in concert with so-called authorities and health practitioners to literally kidnap children from their parents.

In April, we reported on the state of California’s abduction of Baby Sammy for what amounted to little more than his parents wanting a second medical opinion.

This story also illustrates the collectivist mindset being promulgated and embraced by the left, the most recent instance of which had MSNBC host and Associate Professor of Politics Melissa Harris-Perry declaring all children belong to the “community,” in other words, to the state. “We have to break through our private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families,” Harris-Perry recently stated in an awkward 30-second indoctrination piece aired during breaks on MSNBC.

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