U.S. mom has newborn taken away after failed drug test from eating poppy seeds

An Alabama mom had her newborn baby taken from her — all because of poppy seed bread, her doctor fears.

Rebecca Hernandez, who also has a toddler, lost custody of her newborn baby within hours of giving birth last week because health officials at Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville said a drug screening tested positive for opioids, the Washington Post reports.

She spent three days away from her baby while confirmation was underway. It wasn’t long before she and her doctor, Dr. Yashica Robinson, landed on the bread she ate on Monday as the catalyst for the awful experience.

“This is a nightmare for the whole family. A newborn baby has to be close to mom,” Hernandez told WAFF. “They have to be with the mom.

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“That’s the most important time in their life to be close to the mom when they’re just born.”

Her baby stayed with Hernandez’s aunt and uncle while she waited for state lab tests, which eventually confirmed she wasn’t on drugs.

Sometimes, the local broadcaster says, opium plant-derived poppy seeds can trigger a positive result if they have traces of morphine.

Now, the mother wants to make a statement to change Alabama hospital drug-testing policies to protect other moms from a situation like hers.

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According to Al.com, Alabama Cohosh Collaborative representative Kirsten Clark said staff at Crestwood didn’t ask Hernandez permission before testing her, but she may have unknowingly signed a consent form when she entered the hospital.

Documents provided to the Alabama news website reportedly say that Crestwood tests all mothers for drugs. The site notes that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that pregnant women could not involuntarily be drug tested if the results could be used for criminal prosecution.

Robinson said same-day drug screenings are a huge problem.

“Screening tests can have what we call false-positive results where other things can interfere,” Robinson told WAFF. “You can have a substance that a patient eats. Like in this case, poppy seeds can make them test positive for opioids.”

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While Robinson and Hernandez understand the importance of the hospital’s drug testing policy, they believe hospitals should wait for confirmation tests before taking kids away from their parent.

“I understand everything is a process. I understand you have to follow rules,” Hernandez said. “They should’ve done some more research before they decide to call DHR (Alabama Department of Human Resources).”

The hospital released a statement to WAFF regarding the incident, saying: “Crestwood Medical Center is committed to following the law and regulatory requirements as well as ensuring the health and safety of our patients.”

“Our hospital also incorporates patient care practices that are established by credentialed members of our medical staff so as to further insure safe and quality care for all of our patients.”


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