Mothers suing UPMC, Allegheny Co. after test results reported to CYF

Mothers suing UPMC, Allegheny Co. after test results reported to CYF

PITTSBURGH — Two mothers are suing the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Allegheny County.

The class action lawsuit filed Wednesday claims UPMC reported confidential medical information about the women, who were tested for drugs after they gave birth, to Allegheny County’s Office of Children, Youth and Families.

Investigations into the women began after the information was disclosed by UPMC, and they claim they were harassed by county employees.

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One of the women was unknowingly tested for drugs at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, where she gave birth to her third child in November 2017, the lawsuit said. Her results were “unconfirmed positive” for marijuana, and a test performed on her baby came back negative.

The second woman gave birth to her second child in July 2018 and claims she was tested for drugs without her knowledge at UPMC Mercy Hospital.

According to the lawsuit, she was asked if she ever used drugs and told hospital staff she had used marijuana in the past but stopped when she became pregnant. She and her baby were tested and both results were negative. However, UPMC allegedly told CYF she admitted to using marijuana while pregnant, the suit said.

The CYF investigations into both women included repeated home visits and contact with their children’s pediatricians, according to the lawsuit. One of the women said she had to complete another drug test and go to drug counseling, and there were calls made to her older child’s school.

According to the lawsuit, UPMC violated state law that protects patient confidentiality and both women’s constitutional rights were violated by the health care system and county. UPMC sent the following statement:

“UPMC clinicians make informed decisions regarding screening and drug testing for new mothers and newborns. UPMC follows Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law, which mandates health care professionals to report these findings to the Pennsylvania Office of Children, Youth and Family Services (CYS).”

CYF declined Channel 11 News’ request for comment.

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