ATLANTA (Scripps News) — The parents accusing a Georgia hospital of decapitating their baby and trying to cover it up seem to keep reliving their heartbreak.
Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor were appalled to discover that an independent doctor they entrusted to conduct an autopsy on their baby — who died during birth — shared graphic photos and video of the examination online, reports say.
In a lawsuit against the pathologist, the parents claim Dr. Jackson Gates exploited them for followers as the circumstances surrounding their child’s death has gained national attention, according to local station FOX 5 Atlanta, who obtained a copy of the legal document.
“After suffering one of the most heartbreaking losses any family could ever endure, Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor, Jr. had salt poured into their unfathomable emotional wounds when they discovered that video of their baby’s very graphic medical examination had been made public by the very doctor they entrusted to conduct the autopsy,” attorneys said in a joint statement obtained to HuffPost.
“This is diabolical. There is something wrong,” he said.
The lawsuit states the couple paid Gates $2,500 to perform the autopsy examination, but after the autopsy was completed, he posted a full-face picture and videos of the child’s organs on Instagram.
Gates defended his actions on social media, where he regularly shares content for educational purposes, saying he would never disclose the names of his patients, according to HuffPost. The videos have since been taken down and Jackson’s Instagram is currently private.
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a patient privacy law protecting medical professionals from releasing certain information and identifying factors of their patients, such as “full face photographic images and any comparable images,” according to a UC Berkeley human research program. Further complicating the matter, the AMA Journal of Ethics says social media guidelines for pathologists suggest they use common sense ethics practices and alter any identifying details, but that it isn’t a legal requirement.
This latest development comes in addition to a previous lawsuit Ross and Taylor filed against Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Georgia, claiming the hospital waited too long for a cesarean section despite their hourslong pleas, and ended up killing their child during birth.
The two allege it wasn’t until the funeral home noticed their baby’s head was detached — raising red flags and prompting them to alert the parents — that they learned of their baby’s decapitated state. They claim the hospital tried to conceal their dead baby’s condition by wrapping him tightly in a blanket with his head propped, and telling the parents they could only view — but not touch — the infant.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.
This story was originally published by Scripps News, an E.W. Scripps Company.