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July 3, 2013

Woman settles suit over bagel, drug test

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — A western Pennsylvania woman has been paid $143,000 as settlement in a case where she had her newborn taken away following a flawed drug test.

Elizabeth Mort, 24, said a poppy seed bagel she’d eaten spurred a positive test for opiates in 2010. 

Her baby was returned five days later after officials determined there was no evidence of drugs. Hospital policy called for giving drug tests to all obstetrics patients.

"I was devastated. I just cried and cried and cried. I didn't want to let her go. I was heartbroken," Mort, 24, said at a news conference following her filing of the lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Lawrence County child welfare agency and James Hospital. In the end, officials determined there was no evidence.

ACLU officials said Tuesday the hospital and county have implemented policy changes so newborns aren’t taken from parents based only on maternal drug tests, which can be inaccurate.

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Details for this story were provided by the New Castle (Pa.) News and the Associated Press.

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