Pa. mom settles poppy seed bagel drug test case


A Pennsylvania mother who had her baby taken away after eating a single poppy seed bagel caused her to fail a drug test settled for nearly $144,000 Wednesday.

Elizabeth Mort, 24, won the settlement after suing Lawrence County child welfare authorities and Jameson Hospital in Pittsburgh in 2010, ABC News reported.

Mort’s attorney said she tested positive for opiates after eating a bagel while on the way to the hospital to deliver her baby, Isabella Rodriguez, in April 2010, the broadcaster said. The hospital alerted the county welfare department, which led to department staff and police forcibly removing Mort’s 3-day-old daughter from her home for five days.

"I was devastated. I just cried and cried and cried. I didn’t want to let her go. I was heartbroken," Mort said at the time she filed suit.

A follow-up investigation found no evidence Mort had used drugs, and she got her baby back.

In addition to the cash settlement, Jameson Hospital agreed to change its policies for drug testing, a hospital official told ABC News.

Lawrence County agreed to tell mothers if they test positive for drugs before seeking a court order to remove a child from the home, attorney Sara Rose of the American Civil Liberties Union, which assisted Mort, said.

The newspaper said calls to the Lawrence County Department of Public Safety were not returned.


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