A 38-week male fetus, delivered while his mother was unconscious due to drug abuse, died as a result of “acute cocaine, methamphetamine and fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl toxicity,” according to Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz.
“She was under the influence, obviously, so she was high and gave birth and then when she came to, the baby was already born,” Ortiz said.
The incident happened in the early morning hours of June 8, just outside the door of The Open Shelter, 61 E. Mound St.
Dr. Ortiz said the baby had no pulse when medics arrived.
“We called it a fetal demise … because we’re not sure that the baby took a breath,” Ortiz said. “But from our point of view, the baby … couldn’t have lived with those drugs in there.”
Ortiz says the fetus is now the county’s youngest victim of the ongoing drug overdose epidemic. The case is being reviewed by Columbus Division of Police homicide detectives.
The coroner issued a community alert this week citing a surge in the number of overdose deaths.
Dr. Ortiz said her office documented seven deaths in a 24-hour period between Monday and Tuesday. Ortiz has since updated the number of deaths to eight.
Columbus police are investigating another possible drug overdose death.
The body of 42-year-old Robert Coleman was found Tuesday morning on the berm of Interstate-70 Eastbound just west of downtown Columbus.
Police say Coleman was not hit by a vehicle. Investigators say his body was dumped there after he died of a drug overdose.