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Georgia Doctor Who Posted Autopsy Videos of Decapitated Baby Found Liable for Emotional Distress and Invasion of Privacy

The controversial Dr. Jackson Gates
(Left)The controversial Dr. Jackson Gates (Right) Jessica Ross and Treveon Taylor Sr.

In a distressing and legally consequential case, Dr. Jackson Gates and his medical practice, Medical Diagnostic Choices, were found liable for their actions regarding the posting of "grisly and graphic" videos of the autopsy of a decapitated newborn on social media. The incident, which occurred after the death of the newborn, Isaiah, during delivery, led to a civil suit filed by the grieving parents, Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr.

Dr. Gates, who had been entrusted by the parents to conduct an independent autopsy on their deceased child, allegedly shared the graphic autopsy videos on social media without the parents' consent. This act of unauthorized disclosure caused immense emotional distress to the couple, who subsequently filed a lawsuit against Dr. Gates and his practice.

Despite the defendants failing to respond to the civil suit, a default judgment was granted against Dr. Gates and Medical Diagnostic Choices. The court found the doctor and his practice liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and fraud. The specific amount of damages owed to the parents is yet to be determined in a bench trial.

Dr. Gates defended his actions by claiming he did not violate patient privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as he believed he had the right to inform the public about what he perceived as a healthcare safety issue. He asserted that reporting a crime or health issue to the public does not require consent under HIPAA regulations.

In response to the unauthorized posting of the autopsy videos, the couple's attorneys issued a cease and desist letter to Dr. Gates, expressing shock, anger, humiliation, and outrage over the breach of their deceased child's autopsy details. Additionally, the Clayton County Medical Examiner's Office ruled baby Isaiah's death as a homicide caused by the actions of another person, pointing to a fracture of cervical vertebrae in the spine as the cause.

Moreover, the parents had filed a separate lawsuit against the hospital and obstetrician involved in the delivery, alleging that complications during the birth led to their child's death. The hospital, however, refuted the allegations, stating that the infant's tragic demise occurred in utero before delivery.

This case serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of upholding patient privacy, respecting grieving families, and maintaining ethical standards in medical practice. The legal proceedings aim to provide justice, closure, and reparation to the bereaved parents who suffered significant emotional distress due to the unauthorized sharing of their child's autopsy videos.


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