Good news: State seizes newborn baby after mom eats poppy seed bagel

Via Jacob Sullum of Reason, consider this less a palate cleanser than a public service announcement for the HA faithful. If you’re pregnant and happen to live in Pennsylvania, avoid Dunkin Donuts at all costs.

The birth of a couple’s first child is supposed to be a joyous occasion — and for the first three days, it was for Elizabeth Mort and her partner Alex Rodriguez. But then the commonwealth of Pennsylvania took their young daughter away after the hospital where she was born reported the mother for testing positive on a drug test. Her drug of choice? An “everything” bagel from Dunkin’ Donuts

Mort and Rodriguez’s daughter was taken by the state a mere day after they returned from the hospital. Despite a test of the child failing to uncover any trace of illicit drugs, a pair of LCCYS caseworkers and two police officers showed up at their door bearing a court order legally entitling them to seize her. And that never would have happened were it not for Jameson Hospital’s written policy of subjecting mothers-to-be to urine drug tests — and to then report them to the state for testing positive if they exceed an exceptionally low threshold that is far more stringent than the one the federal government applies to its own workers.

While a federal employee would fail a drug test if they exceed a threshold of 2,000 nanograms/mL of opiate metabolites, a patient at Jameson Hospital would fail if they exceed a threshold of just 300 nanograms/mL — or just 100 nanograms/mL for morphine. At such low thresholds, there’s a good chance other parents will have to suffer — and likely have already suffered — the pain of having their child taken away from them based on nothing more than their choice of breakfast food.

As Sullum notes, according to the ACLU complaint filed on the couple’s behalf, urine tests administered to Mort by her obstetrician during the pregnancy were uniformly negative for drugs. Oh well: The state grabbed the baby anyway — and held her for five days. And if you think that’s the worst thing to happen to someone because of a false positive triggered by eating the wrong bagel, think again.

Seriously, how can we still be having this problem in 2010? Doesn’t anyone else watch “Mythbusters”?