Mother Eats Poppy Seed Seasoning – Has Newborn Taken

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

In Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, Eileen Ann Bower tested positive for opiates after giving birth to her  son. Based on the results of the routine blood test, performed by Jameson Hospital, the Lawrence County Children and Youth Services kidnapped seized the baby three days after its birth. Bower claims her last meal, before giving birth, was a pasta salad with Perfect Pinch Salad Supreme Seasoning, which contains poppy seeds (the fourth listed ingredient).

Bower regained custody of her child 75 days later. Bower is suing the Lawrence County Department of Children and Youth Services.

Bower’s attorney, Stanley T. Booker explained “There were only trace amounts of opiates — they couldn’t even put a range on the amount.”

In an almost identical episode, another couple, Elizabeth Mort and Alex Rodriguez, whose baby was taken after she ate a poppy-seed bagel  and subsequently failed a urine test, performed by Jameson Hospital, are also suing the Lawrence County Department of Children and Youth Services, as well as Jameson Health System. In the ACLU complaint, it is claimed that:

The cut-off concentration levels used by Jameson to determine whether an initial or confirmation prenatal drug test is positive for opiates and/or morphine are so low that they are likely to produce false positive results; in fact, Jameson’s cut-off levels are far lower than those set by the federal government for federal workplace drug-testing programs.

I fail to see the reason for such a low threshold. The hospital’s policy is to consider a level of 300 nanograms/mL or above a positive result. Federal workplace drug testing has a threshold of 2000 nanograms/mL or higher.

Maybe it’s time for the hospital to rethink, assuming they thought about it in the first place, their threshold.

H/T: Reason Hit & Run, ABC News.

33 thoughts on “Mother Eats Poppy Seed Seasoning – Has Newborn Taken”

  1. I do not expect any transfer of money to these parents. If they receive any recompense or results, it will be a first for CYS in Lawrence County. They are above the law in New Castle, PA. They have gotten away with far more than has been reported. No one challenges them. The ACLU has their work cut out for them in this case.

  2. I had natural childbirth at home with a lay midwife. One of the factors in our decision was that our town’s hospital had an 80% C-section rate. In my La Leche League class, all but two of us, myself and a woman who had given birth in South Africa, had had a C-section. A number of the women there felt that their C-sections were not warranted.

    This was the same hospital involved in the Baby Doe case of 1982. I wondered at the time whether the hospital and the ob/gyns certified there were making their decisions not so much because of medical need but excessive caution which overruled the parents and good medical practice to prevent further lawsuits.

  3. Rafflaw, I was wondering that myself. As I recall the BP money that was to be paid to negatively affected Gulf residents and workers was put under the care of a special master hired at over $800. an hour, didn’t pay out anything for months and now BP is requesting that payments cease. That doesn’t seem like a good model.

    I also recall the state’s involved in the tobacco settlement bled money out of their shares for things that were not in compliance with the terms of the settlement.

    This is especially interesting in that the wrongdoing that has led to this settlement negotiation is still happening and the parties are well aware of it.

    Somehow, I suspect that the people harmed by the unethical, and often illegal, actions of the mortgage-holding institutions will see very little from this settlement.

  4. Roco,

    Yes – a particularly demanding travel schedule last two weeks. I travel frequently, but got some very high quality TSA time in recently. Many are expecting that unionization is going to bring TSA attitude and abuses to a whole new level, and I think they’re probably right.

  5. Why not make drug testing of young parents necessary for continued custody of their children?

    Lots of blame for the hospital here in the comments, but it was government that ordered and seized the child with absolutely no evidence of imminent harm.

  6. Lotta,
    interesting links. Just who would get this $25 Billion in this settlement? If it goes directyly to home owners, I may be ok with it. I am guessing that I am dreaming though!

  7. OT but not really:

    This is not a failure of a consistent or reasonable policy or a matter f hospitals being caught in the middle of competing interests; this is just another aspect of the massive class war going on right in broad daylight, for everyone to see. Little people get their kids taken away from them on a basis that could be persuasively argues that is whimsical and arbitrary, under color of any one of dozens of farcical government policies, and the 2% are openly aided and abetted by government at every level. Bah, humbug.

    “States negotiating immunity for banks over foreclosures

    A coalition of all 50 states’ attorneys general has been negotiating settlements with five of the biggest U.S. banks that would include payment of up to $25 billion in penalties and commitments to follow new rules. In exchange, the banks would get immunity from civil lawsuits by the states, as well as similar guarantees by the Justice Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development, which have participated in the talks.”


    “Audit: Fed gave $16 trillion in emergency loans

    The U.S. Federal Reserve gave out $16.1 trillion in emergency loans to U.S. and foreign financial institutions between Dec. 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010, according to figures produced by the government’s first-ever audit of the central bank.

    Last year, the gross domestic product of the entire U.S. economy was $14.5 trillion.”

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