A Minnesota medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed by the family of a stillborn baby against the hospital where the delivery of the 22-week-old baby occurred, for the alleged negligence of the hospital in failing to send the body for cremation, as was promised to the family, but rather sent the body out with the hospital’s dirty laundry to an outside laundry facility, where workers discovered the body and took photos of the body that were passed around.
The pregnant woman had gone to the defendant hospital on April 3, 2013 at 9:15 a.m,, in pre-term labor. The baby was delivered stillborn at 3:09 p.m. She named her son Jose.
The defendant hospital allowed the mother to have Jose’s body in the room with her overnight. After the mother and other family members declined an autopsy, out of respect for Jose’s body, the hospital offered to have the body cremated in a respectful and dignified manner, to which the family consented, according to the family’s Minnesota medical malpractice lawsuit.
On April 16, 2013, an anonymous tipster telephoned the local police department to report that workers at a laundry facility had discovered a baby’s body among the dirty laundry received from the hospital. The police report states that an anonymous caller advised that the caller’s daughter works at the laundry facility and that a body of a baby was discovered at the laundry facility. The dead baby’s body was in a diaper and had hospital tags on it. The laundry contacted the hospital, whose name was on the tags, and someone from the hospital came to the laundry and placed the baby’s body in a plastic bag and then left the laundry facility with the body. The anonymous caller stated that employees of the laundry facility took pictures of the deceased baby’s body.
The police report further states that an officer went to the laundry facility and was provided with a copy of the picture of the dead baby’s body. The police were told that an employee of the laundry was performing “pre-sort,” pulling dirty linens received from the hospital, when the employee discovered the body, which fell out of the linens, struck the employee on the shoulder, and landed on the floor as the employee was opening bags of dirty laundry. A supervisor at the laundry told the police that she observed the body, which she described as bright red with a slightly flattened head and weighing approximately three pounds. The baby’s body had a diaper and hospital bracelets on its right wrist and right ankle. The body reportedly appeared “fresh” and did not have a smell. The supervisor told the police that the linens in which the baby’s body had been found were already laundered.
An employee of the laundry facility told the police that a photo of the baby’s body had been taken by an employee and was sent to other employees of the laundry facility.
The defendant hospital told the police during its investigation that it sends dirty laundry to the laundry facility three times each day and that “the baby must have been put in the laundry with the dirty linens.” The laundry’s office manager told the police, “it is not uncommon for her employees to find medical waste in the linens from [the defendant hospital] which may consist of tissue, blood, and on occasion, an appendage.” When that occurs, she calls a security officer at the defendant hospital.
The family’s Minnesota medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the body found at the laundry was identified as Jose from the tags on the body. The Minnesota medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the hospital failed to contact the police after its employees went to the laundry facility and retrieved the body, and also failed to notify the family regarding the incident. The family contacted the defendant hospital after the news of a baby’s body found in the dirty laundry became public, inquiring if the body was that of Jose’s, but the hospital refused to respond but instead asked the family to come to the hospital for a meeting, which occurred the following day during which the defendant hospital acknowledged that the body was Jose’s, according to the family’s Minnesota medical malpractice lawsuit that was filed during September 2017.
The defendant hospital reportedly contacted the local police on April 19, 2013 to report that the body of a female stillborn baby delivered on April 7, 2013 could not be found, and that the stillborn’s body was “most probably delivered to the same laundry service and has not been located,” and that it believed that the baby’s body was “in the same bag and went to the same facility” as Jose’s body.
If you or a family member suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice in Minnesota or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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