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Woman Files Lawsuit Against Hospital After Accusation Of Opiate Use

OAKLAND (KDKA) – When a Brighton Heights woman welcomed her first child into the world at Magee-Womens Hospital back in June, she says she was violated and humiliated – fearing her baby would be taken away.

Rachael Devore had an induced delivery June 24, 2013 at 11:18 p.m.

"It was a wonderful experience," she said. "I had great doctors and nurses."

But hours later, that would all change when nurse told Devore her baby was being tested for Opiates because she tested positive. Then came the questions from a social worker.

Attorney Maggie Schuetz Coleman claims that they went against the mother's rights by taking this test without her consent and then questioned her about her "drug-abuse."

Attorney Maggie Coleman 1

"What types of Opiates are you using?" they asked. "Is there anything you want to talk to me about?"

"I didn't understand why she was asking me these questions and she said opiates, meth, heroin – and I was like, 'No. I haven't taken anything,'" Devore said.

Devore remembered later that she had eaten poppy seed bread, just before delivering, which would give a false positive for Opiates. But she has no idea how the hospital got her urine sample.

"I never handed them a sample," Devore said. "I never went to the bathroom and peed in a cup and handed that cup to anyone."

Nonetheless, Devore's positive test was reported to CYF and after her discharge, social workers went to her home. She was tested on a regular basis for three months by a drug and alcohol counselors.

The family cooperated with everything that was requested of them, but were always dwelling on the fear that if a positive test were to come back again, they may lose their child.

"I believe that UPMC behaved negligently," said Coleman. "I think they treated the results of the test negligently and they were negligent in disclosing the results to CYF without any additional information and control testing."

Coleman said they are seeking compensation for Devore's troubles.

"Well, we want compensation obviously for what this family went through. I mean, this is such an important, crucial moment in this family's life and to have the government come in and to taint it this way by accusing you of doing something to harm your baby when you know that you've done nothing wrong," said Coleman. "You know, and just the helplessness you feel of not being able to convince anybody that they didn't do anything wrong. And we also want to send a message to UPMC that this isn't acceptable that you can't treat your patients this way."

Attorney Maggie Coleman 2

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday just after 11 a.m. A spokesperson for Magee says the hospital has no comment.

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