New moms are suing hospitals, claiming that baking with poppy seeds led to failed drug tests

A pregnancy’s cravings for everything bagel turned what should have been an enjoyable time in the New Jersey mom’s life into a painful experience, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The woman tested positive for opiates because she ate bread with it poppy seed Before giving birth, the ACLU said. The American Civil Liberties Union also sued a second mom in New Jersey who claims she tested positive for drug use over breakfast.

The ACLU alleges that both mothers were reported to the Division of Child Protection and Sustainability (DCPP) on the basis of false test results, according to complaints filed against Hackensack University Medical Center and Virtua Voorhees Hospital.

“I felt doctors were questioning my character and parenting skills,” said one of the mothers, who is referred to in the lawsuit as Kate L, in a statement. “I’m terrified of ever going to the hospital again; I will always worry about our family being torn apart. That’s why we do everything we can to prevent this from happening to anyone else.”

According to the lawsuit, Kate L went to Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) on September 20, 2022 because a urine sample I gave her earlier in the day showed she had “elevated proteins in her urine, which indicated that she had pre-eclampsia — a serious condition.” “. That same morning, she had eaten it all for breakfast.

When I got to the hospital, I provided another urine sample.

“Since Kate regularly provided urine samples to her OB/GYN to check for proteins or nutritional deficiencies during her pregnancy, including that morning, I assumed the hospital would use that sample to measure protein levels as well.” suit said.

She gave birth the next day and her baby girl was brought to the neonatal intensive care unit. It wasn’t until September 24, when Kate. L asked when she could bring her daughter home, and that she knew about the drug test.

“The doctor explained that they are not sure if AL can be discharged because Kate’s urine sample tested positive for the drug,” he said. complaint He says. “Although HUMC had run a drug test four days earlier, when Kate first arrived at the hospital, it was the first time anyone working at HUMC had told Kate and [her husband] Jesse about drug testing. They were shocked when they heard there was a drug test and amazed that there could be a positive result.”

Subsequent tests came back negative, but the couple were not allowed to take their daughter home until October 1. The parents were fully investigated by the DCPP for the next two months, according to the complaint. The new mother needed to complete an approved alcohol and drug counseling assessment, during which she needed to provide a urine sample in full view of the caseworker.

“She was humiliated by urinating in front of a stranger, and also humiliated because her body was still visibly recovering from the labor and surgery, which the caseworker was able to see,” the complaint reads.

The investigation concluded in November, the lawsuit said, but such cases will remain in the DCPP system in New Jersey for at least three years.

At no time has Kate L’s daughter tested positive for drugs.

Caitlin K, the other new mom who claims bread with poppy seeds is responsible for her positive drug test, gave birth on October 20, 2022 at Virtua Voorhees Hospital. Although, like Kate L, her son was never tested positive for drugs, Caitlin K.’s urine tested positive for opiates.

The suit alleges that she had also eaten bread with poppy seeds before she went to the hospital.

The ACLU said the drug test was conducted without her consent and without medical necessity. Caitlin also thought she was submitting a urine sample for a routine protein test.

“As a direct result of this practice, what should have been a delightful experience for Caitlin and her family caused serious and lasting emotional trauma,” the complaint says.

Similar to Kate L’s experience, no one from the hospital told her about the test until the day after Kaitlin K was born. She was confused and gave another sample, confident it would turn up negative and be able to bring her baby home.

This sample also came back positive.

“Kaitlin couldn’t believe this was happening. She didn’t understand how she could test positive for codeine,” complaint He said.

The ACLU claims the test the hospital uses uses 200 times less than the federal guidelines.

The DCPP eventually exonerated Kaitlin K after a months-long investigation, and determined the allegations to be unfounded.

“This whole ordeal was very stressful and turned our lives upside down and now, because of what happened, I live in fear of medical examinations and how they can be used against me as a mother,” she said.

A HUMC spokesperson told CBS News that the hospital does not comment on ongoing lawsuits. Virtua Voorhees Hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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