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University Hospital Faces Lawsuit for Flushing Fetus

— January 12, 2021

Hospital is accused of offering inadequate pregnancy care and flushing a miscarried fetus.

In a new lawsuit seeking $2 million, a couple contends University Hospital flushed a woman’s fetus down the toilet after she miscarried.  They’re also suing the medical staff that she saw during in May 2018 while suffering from severe abdominal pain.  The couple was aware the patient was sixteen weeks pregnant when they arrived at the hospital.

The plaintiff says she had to wait 45 minutes to be taken back, and instead of being treated after the initial evaluation, she was sent back to the waiting area and began experiencing contractions five minutes apart accompanied with nausea and vomiting. “It was then,” the suit said, she “was finally seen by a doctor, who performed an ultrasound on the woman and confirmed a heart rate of 150 beats per minute for the 16-week-old fetus…The doctor was disrespectful and insolent to her during the ordeal and treated her as if she was faking her ailments before attempting to discharge her from the emergency room.”  The woman, the suit added, “continued to tell the doctor that she was in pain and needed treatment.  However, the doctor instructed her to leave the ER.”

University Hospital Faces Lawsuit for Flushing Fetus
Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

On her way out, still in pain, the patient headed to the restroom where her water broke shortly after being discharged.  “Instead of care,” the suit said, “the woman was given a hospital gown and wet wipes and was not checked after her water broke.  The woman then went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet where she ultimately passed the child.”

In shock, the lawsuit continues, the woman screamed, “I’ve lost my baby!”  A nurse and the physician told her to clean herself up and return to an exam room.  “The fetus, while still in the toilet, was then flushed down the toilet by the doctor and the nurse.   [The doctor] left the restroom and told [the woman] she had a miscarriage, with the outrageous and cavalier admission that ‘everything went down the drain.’”

The fetus was ultimately discovered at the Augusta Wastewater Treatment after the incident and DNA testing confirmed it was hers.  Instead of documenting in medical records she had miscarriage, however, the suit says, “doctors and nurses falsified records to indicate was she passed in the toilet was tissue and blood clots – not a fetus.”

“Defendants’ conduct as alleged herein shows willfulness, malice, wantonness, oppression, and that entire want of care which raises the presumption of a conscious indifference to the circumstances,” the suit said.”

The couple’s attorney, Harry Revell, added his clients are claiming medical malpractice, “improper disposal of the fetus, and doing so without consent.”  He stated, “The law makes it very clear that you cannot dispose of a body without the proper methods and manner being taken, the foremost of that the consent and notice of the parent which clearly wasn’t done here.”

The hospital responded in a statement, “We have not seen the lawsuit, but we have spent a great deal of time investigating the patient’s course of care, and we feel confident that no one intentionally flushed a fetus down the toilet.”


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