16/10/2012 10:27 BST | Updated 16/10/2012 10:33 BST

Arteisha Betts And Travis Ammonette Sue Doctors For 'Attempting To Conceal Decapitation Of Baby At Birth'

A couple have filed a lawsuit claiming doctors decapitated their baby during birth and then tried to conceal the tragedy by placing the body and severed head back in the birth canal.

Arteisha Betts and Travis Ammonette lost their baby son during delivery in March 2011, at the Mercy Hospital in St Louis, Missouri.

The couple filed a 10-count complaint in St Louis County Circuit Court last month, claiming doctors Gilbert Webb and Susan Moore horrifically botched the birth, leading to their son’s death.


Arteisha Betts and Travis Ammonette say their son was beheaded during birth

Quoting the Courthouse News Service, says the lawsuit alleges the couple were coerced into a vaginal delivery against their wishes and that after unintentionally beheading the child, the doctors tried to cover it up.

The couple claim they had been advised by Moore that the child would have to be delivered by caesarean section because his abdomen was to large for a vaginal delivery.

But when Betts went into labour 28 weeks into her pregnancy she claims Webb “would only agree to deliver her baby by way of attempted trial of vaginal delivery”, the complaint states.

“Betts consented to a trial of vaginal delivery under duress and protest,” it continues.

The first stage of the birth process saw the baby’s head delivered safely, but his abdomen became stuck in the birth canal, local news service Florissant Patch said.


It adds: “The complainant states that Webb ‘pushed decedent's head and body back into plaintiff Arteisha Betts' birth canal,’ and called for an emergency C-section. In a process that the complaint says began before Betts received anesthsia, Webb is said to have ‘surgically and completely removed’ the baby's head from his neck and torso.

“According to the complaint, Webb 'intentionally concealed’ the baby's neck wounds afterward before the baby was presented to the plaintiffs. The complaint does not indicate how the injuries were concealed."

The New York Daily News adds: “Blood ‘shot out’ from the newborn’s neck in full view of his parents.”

The couple are seeking unspecificed compensation to cover pregnancy and funeral expenses, personal injury, and wrongful death damages.

The hospital where the birth took place is not listed as a defendant. Lawyers for Webb and Moore declined to comment when contacted by Florissant Patch.

In May it was reported that a 14lb baby was decapitated as doctors struggled to deliver him naturally at a hospital in Brazil.

The tragedy occurred after the child’s 22-year-old mother went into labour at the Hospital Santa Isabel in the north of Aracaju, Brazil, the country’s G1 Globo website said.

In 2006 a baby in Louisville, Kentucky, was decapitated at birth after it became entangled in the cerclage, a string similar to a shoelace.

The string “acted as a noose” and caused the decapitation as the child’s body was pulled from the womb, AZCentral reported.

The child’s mother, Micheatria Donelson, was awarded nearly $1.4m compensation for pain and suffering.