Infant Death Lawsuit Laced With Gory Details

     CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - An obstetrician pushed the severed head of a baby boy back into his mother's birth canal and then ordered a cesarean section, a distraught couple claims in court.
     Arteisha Betts and Travis Ammonette say they went to St. John's Mercy Medical Center on March 22, 2011, when Betts started experiencing preterm contractions, 28 weeks and five days into her pregnancy.
     Dr. Susan Moore had observed weeks earlier that Betts would need a cesarean section because her baby had an unusually large abdomen, according to the complaint in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
     Betts says the medical team could not halt her contractions, and that her primary doctor, Gilbert Webb, refused to deliver the baby by cesarean section. Betts said Webb also refused to allow them to go to another hospital.
     The rest of the complaint reads like a bad horror film.
     "Believing she had no other choice than to agree to a trial of vaginal delivery, plaintiff Arteisha Betts consented to a trial of vaginal delivery under duress and protest," the complaint states.
     "During the second stage of labor sometime before 10:34 p.m. on the evening of March 22, 2011, decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette's head delivered, and decedent was at that time still alive.
     "During the second stage of labor sometime before 10:34 p.m. on the evening of March 22, 2011, after decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette's head was delivered, decedent's abdomen became stuck in the birth canal (a condition known as abdominal dystocia).
     "Defendant Webb recognized that decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette was stuck on his mother's birth canal, and he cut a generous 4th degree episiotomy into plaintiff Arteisha Betts perineum.
     "Despite cutting a generous 4th degree episiotomy into plaintiff Arteisha Betts' perineum, and attempting McRoberts' Maneuver, and delivering decedent's posterior arm, and dislodging decedent's anterior shoulder, decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette's abdomen remained stuck in his mother's birth canal due to his large abdominal circumference."
     Betts and Ammonette say further complications arose when Webb tried to loosen the baby by applying traction to his head.
     "Defendant Webb applied sufficient traction to the axilla and head of decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette during Webb's attempt to deliver decedent vaginally that defendant Webb separated decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette's head from his cervical spine," the complaint states.
     "When defendant Webb separated decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette's head from his cervical spine, decedent's body was still inside Arteisha Betts' birth canal.
     "When defendant Webb separated decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette's head from his cervical spine, blood from the arteries and veins in decedent's neck shot out, splattered and/or spilled out into the labor and delivery room in plain view of and in close proximity to plaintiffs Arteisha Betts and Travis Ammonette.
     "At the time that defendant Webb separated decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette's head from his cervical spine, plaintiff Travis Ammonette was approximately 2 to 4 feet from his son's head."
     As if the horror before the couple's eyes was not enough, Webb then "pushed" the baby's "head and body back into plaintiff Arteisha Betts' birth canal" and called for an emergency cesarean section, according to the complaint.
     "While personnel emergently moved plaintiff Arteisha Betts to an operating room while still on her labor and delivery bed, and before plaintiff Arteisha Betts was administered any anesthetic or anesthesia, defendant Webb began making the cesarean section incision into plaintiff Arteisha Betts' abdomen, causing plaintiff Arteisha Betts significant physical pain and suffering," the complaint states.
     "During the course of the cesarean section, defendant Webb surgically and completely removed decedent Kaden Travis Ammonette's head from his neck and torso."
     Betts and Ammonette seek punitive damages for wrongful death, medical negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. They are represented by Christopher Wright of Millikan Wright in St. Louis.
     Midwest Maternal & Fetal Medicine Services, Signature Medical Group, Webb and Moore are named as defendants. St. John's Mercy was not named as a party to the lawsuit.