July 3, 2013
Baby Taken Away After Bagel Causes Mom To Fail Drug Test

A baby was taken away from her mother because the mother ate a bagel, and now the mom has claimed a $143,500 court settlement.

Elizabeth Mort ate a poppy seed bagel in April 2010, and, a short time later, her 3-month-old daughter, Isabella Rodriguez, suffered through a seizure. Hospital officials tested Elizabeth and then claimed she was high on opiates.

Without further investigation, the Lawrence County's child welfare agency, and Jameson Hospital took away little Isabella from her mother.

Convinced of her innocence, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on her behalf and on Tuesday, her lawyers announced the settlement.

Mort filed the lawsuit in October 2010. Mort said in the filing that she was at home with her baby when a county child welfare caseworker arrived with an emergency protective custody order to take Isabella away.

The baby was taken away over the bagel incident for a period of five days. Local officials determined, after taking the child from her mother, that there was no evidence that her mom had used any sort of illegal drugs.

In the baby versus bagel lawsuit (not the lawsuit's actual name), Mort's lawyers argued that the Jameson Hospital used a much lower threshold for drug screening than federal guidelines. Because of the threshold used, more false positives from common foods and medicines are witnessed at the medical facility. Federal guidelines use a standard measurement of 2,000 nanograms per milliliter while Jameson Hospital used a very small reading of just 300 nanograms.

In talking about the baby who was taken because of a bagel, Pennsylvania ACLU staff attorney Sara Rose declared:

"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."

ACLU officials revealed on Tuesday that the hospital and county have implemented policy changes. Not only will higher thresholds now be used at the hospital, but government officials won't jump the gun to take baby's away from their maternal parents until other factors have been considered.

Do you think the baby taken away because of a bagel deserved a $143,500 settlement?