A family has filed a lawsuit against a Minnesota hospital after their stillborn baby was found in a dirty laundry bag sent away by the facility. The boy’s mother, Esmeralda Hernandez, and several other family members filed the lawsuit against St. Paul hospital earlier this month, accusing the hospital of reckless interference with a dead body over the 2013 incident, the Pioneer Press reported.
The baby, who was named Jose, was born at 22 weeks gestation in April 2013, and Hernandez had declined an autopsy but chose to have his body placed in her room overnight. Two weeks after accepting the hospital’s offer to have his body cremated, police responded to a tip about laundry workers finding a baby’s body inside of a bag sent from Regions, the news outlet reported.
The lawsuit claims that the laundry workers took photos of Jose, who was found with his identification bracelet and diaper still on. The complaint alleges that the hospital neglected to inform the family that Jose’s body had been found, and only admitted to the mistake when contacted by family members after the media began reporting on the story.
“We want to say again that we are truly sorry for our mistake,” the hospital said in a statement on Monday, according to the Pioneer Press. “We immediately reached out to the family in 2013 to apologize and to try to help ease their loss. We have continued to work with their lawyer – always open to a reasonable resolution.”
A second baby’s body was found in Regions’ dirty laundry at around the same time, but his body was never recovered, Pioneer Press reported.
“We… took immediate steps to ensure this would not happen again,” the statement said, according to the news outlet. “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reviewed our updated process in 2014. We continue to review these processes on an ongoing basis.”
Hernandez is seeking upwards of $50,000 for their ongoing pain.