Woman sues after losing custody of newborn

A Pennsylvania woman is suing the Lawrence County Department of Children and Youth Services for removing her newborn son from her custody after she tested positive for opiates that she alleged was the result of poppy seed consumption, according to multiple reports.

The woman, Eileen Bower, claims officials took custody of her son directly after his birth. A routine blood test performed at Jameson Hospital detected opiates in her system, leading workers to contact state authorities. However, Bower’s lawyer said his client had eaten a salad with a dressing containing poppy seeds before giving birth in July 2009, which he said likely led to the positive test result.

“There were only trace amounts of opiates – they couldn’t even put a range on the amount,” Bower’s lawyer explained.

Bower retained custody of her son, now two years old, 75 days after the incident.

Another woman who gave birth at Jameson Hospital is involved in a similar lawsuit. Elizabeth Mort, who filed a lawsuit against the hospital and state child protection services last October, claims her newborn daughter was removed from her custody after she tested positive for opiates following the consumption of an everything bagel with poppy seeds.

The American Civil Liberties Union attorney told Change.org that Jameson Hospital has a written policy of submitting new mothers to urine drug tests and reporting them to the state if they test positive for illegal substances.