Published January 23, 2008
| Associated Press
FORT WORTH, Texas – A couple are suing a hospital after their stillborn baby's body was sent with dirty laundry to the cleaners.
The Huguley Memorial Medical Center of Fort Worth staff took 19 hours to find the missing body, which was unpreserved and by then had been crushed and disfigured, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Kourtney McGee of Cleburne went to Huguley in July because she was bleeding in her second trimester, then gave birth to Jacob Dwayne Robinson. Staff told McGee and Milburn "Pete" Robinson of Alvarado, the baby's father, that the body would be taken the morgue.
But when the funeral director arrived, he was told the body could not be found. The baby's body was not refrigerated when it got to the morgue but instead was sent to a commercial cleaner with the laundry, according to the suit.
The lawsuit contends Huguley Memorial Medical Center breached its duty to care for, handle, maintain and/or prepare for burial. The lawsuit alleges negligence, which is the failure to extend ordinary care, and gross negligence, which shows either reckless conduct or conscious disregard for the family's rights.
The family has sustained "severe emotional distress and mental anguish" and seeks punitive and exemplary damages, according to the lawsuit that does not specify a monetary amount.
"How could this happen, that these parents lost their child, lost their son — then the hospital doesn't have a procedure or policy in place for dealing with it?" the couple's attorney John David Hart told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Dallas attorney Michael Stewart, who is representing Huguley, denied the allegations and said the hospital did nothing inappropriate.
"Our sympathies go to a family obviously who had a stillborn situation. Everyone feels bad about that," Stewart said, declining to release more information because of the pending litigation.