New Castle News

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July 2, 2013

Mom settles suit over poppy seed drug test

NEW CASTLE —  A Lawrence County woman who had her newborn taken away because she had failed a hospital drug test after eating a poppy seed bagel has settled a lawsuit over the case.

Lawrence County’s child welfare agency and Jameson Hospital have paid $143,500 to settle the suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Elizabeth Mort of New Castle.

Mort said a poppy seed bagel spurred a positive test for opiates in 2010. Her baby was returned five days later, after officials determined there was no evidence of drugs. Hospital policy called for giving drug tests to all obstetrics patients.

ACLU officials said Tuesday the hospital and county have implemented policy changes so newborns aren’t taken from parents based only on maternal drug tests, which can be inaccurate.

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