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Mom Overdoses While Giving Birth in Burger King Restroom

Police car on the street at night
Photograph by Twenty20

In the wake of CDC’s recent warning to pregnant women using opioids, authorities in Chillicothe, Ohio, were called to investigate a situation involving a man who had passed out in his vehicle outside of a Burger King. What they discovered, however, will send chills down your spine.

According to Chillicothe Gazette, after police located the missing man—26-year-old Zachary T. Frey, described as drooling, having slurred speech and pinpoint-size pupils—a second officer, accompanied by a medic, went in to check the bathroom. There, they found a woman sitting on a toilet with a ball of heroin on the floor beside her and an infant boy, lying face up, in the water between her legs.

The woman, 26-year-old Elizabeth D. Sanders, reportedly told police she thought she had suffered a miscarriage, but police weren’t buying her story.

“Due to her level of impairment, she was completely unaware, or at least believed to be unaware, that she was giving birth at the time,” police told FOX28 Columbus.

When asked to stand, police say she changed positions, causing the baby to roll over and plunge back into the water—face down.

Thankfully, the boy was still breathing after being pulled from the water. He was sent to Adena Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.

They found a woman sitting on a toilet with a ball of heroin on the floor beside her and an infant boy, lying face up, in the water between her legs.

"It’s a miracle the baby is alive,” wrote Jackie Orozco with ABC 6 News, tweeting an image of the bathroom stall.

In an update on Tuesday, Chillicothe Police Capt. Larry Bamfield told Chillicothe Gazette that although the boy is expected to be "OK," it is unclear who will be caring for him once he is discharged. It won’t be his mother (at least not until she's been cleared of opioid use disorder), who was released from Adena Medical Center and later arrested on an outstanding theft warrant. She pleaded not guilty on Monday and was sent home on her own recognizance.

Police say Frey was charged with operating a vehicle while impaired and possession of drug paraphernalia after refusing medical treatment. Further charges are still pending.

As for the little boy, found clinging to life in a fast-food bathroom toilet, he is lucky that paramedics—shown here tending to his needs—turned up when they did, but what happens now? What will his life be like in another five years?

This story is another vivid example of how serious the opioid epidemic has become. Opioid use disorder is a dangerous and often deadly nationwide addiction that must be addressed before it gets any worse. Let's be honest, how many more children need to suffer because Mom didn’t get the help she needed?

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