Baby’s remains were ‘thrown out’ before parents could bury their child, lawsuit says

A premature baby was born in a Massachusetts hospital and died at the hands of her mother almost two weeks later due to medical complications.

As Alana Ross and Daniel McCarthy prepared to bury their daughter, Everleigh, who was born in Boston on July 25, 2020, they learned that her remains had been “discarded” with bedding from the morgue, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday, June 23. was tightened. against Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The couple had been trying to start a family for two years.

Before learning that their daughter’s remains had been lost, a nurse had “promised and assured Daniel that Baby Everleigh’s body would be safe in the morgue for several days,” according to court documents.

When one hospital worker took the linen-wrapped body to the morgue, another said, “You can put it anywhere,” the lawsuit says. As a result, Everleigh’s remains were placed on a metal rack, which “was not the proper or designated place for the delivery of baby remains to the morgue”, and according to the lawsuit, she was mistaken for dirty linen.

Everleigh’s body was not found on Friday, June 24, an attorney representing the couple, Gregory D. Henning, told McClatchy News.

The lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, has named 14 hospital workers and said Brigham and Women’s Hospital was aware of “problematic conditions” at the morgue and failed to realize that the baby’s remains had been missing for days and did not inform them. protected.

dr. Sunil Eappen, the hospital’s medical director, said in a statement to McClatchy News that “we continue to express our deepest condolences and our sincere apologies to the Ross and McCarthy family for their loss and the heartbreaking circumstances surrounding it.”

“As with any case where concerns are raised regarding our standard of care or practice, we have shared the details easily and transparently with the patient’s family. We always evaluate both systemic and human factors that contribute to errors or potential problems reported by patients, relatives or staff and take action.”

Meanwhile, the lawsuit also said the hospital “refused” to cooperate with a law enforcement investigation into the disappearance of the baby’s remains.

“The parents have been dealing with the grief and fear of losing Everleigh since August 2020,” Henning told McClatchy News.

In this provided photo is Alana Ross, left, and Daniel McCarthy, right.

In this provided photo is Alana Ross, left, and Daniel McCarthy, right.

Everleigh’s Birth

In June 2018, Ross and McCarthy, who have dated for several years and have known each other since childhood, decided they wanted to start a family together, according to the lawsuit. Before Everleigh’s birth, they had two “heartbreaking” miscarriages.

On Valentine’s Day in 2020, Ross discovered she was pregnant again and sought help at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, according to court documents. After overcoming several health and pregnancy-related hurdles, Everleigh was born prematurely with complications in July 2020 and was transported to the newborn intensive care unit.

About five days later, Ross and McCarthy held Everleigh for the first time and read her children’s books, according to the lawsuit.

Ultimately, doctors were told that treatment options for their baby’s medical complications were “exhausted,” the lawsuit states. Then Everleigh was baptized shortly before she died on August 6, 2020.

After her death, “the nurses retrieved Baby Everleigh’s keepsake box, which contained photos, collages and mementos, such as her baptismal water,” and “the parents were allowed to say goodbye,” the lawsuit said.

On Aug. 10, funeral home representatives arrived at the hospital to collect Everleigh’s remains, but she never found the facility, according to her parents.

The search for Everleigh’s body

The lawsuit points out that while the hospital records the patient’s whereabouts through an electronic bracelet scanning system, there were no “procedures in (the hospital) to digitally record the delivery of the baby’s remains to the morgue.” Instead, a handwritten ‘mortgage log’ was used.

On August 11, 2020, the Boston Police Department was contacted about Everleigh’s missing remains and an investigation was launched, according to the lawsuit.

The next day, officers spent “eight hours searching blood-soaked clothing, feces-covered linen and other medical waste at a transfer station looking for Baby Everleigh” to no avail, according to court documents.

During the investigation, the Boston Police Department said their detectives were provided with incomplete hospital video footage from the time the baby’s remains were placed in the morgue to the time it was announced that the body had been lost, according to a police report.

The lawsuit said the hospital gave “incorrect answers to questions from the police”.

In Eappen’s statement, he declined to “comment specifically on this matter” because of the pending lawsuits.

Henning told McClatchy News that Ross and McCarthy filed their lawsuit because “they want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else” and “that no other family has to go through the same grief and trauma that they have suffered and continue to suffer every day.” .”

They want to “find out what happened” and “find out how this could have happened”.

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