Minnesota Hospital Sends Stillborn Baby’s Body to Laundry Service

State   Steven Ertelt   Apr 17, 2013   |   12:43PM    St. Paul, MN

A Minnesota hospital has been forced to apologize for mishandling the body of a stillborn baby who was discovered at the laundry service facility it uses.

Regions Hospital in St. Paul says the body found in a sheet at a laundry service in Red Wing, Minnesota, on Tuesday was that of a 22-week-old stillborn baby. The hospital says the remains of the deceased child had been wrapped in linens in its morgue and staff mistook it for laundry the hospital sent out for cleaning.

The hospital calls the oversight a “terrible mistake” and said it extends its “deep apologies” to the family of the baby in question.

Chief nursing officer Chris Boese said the hospital currently has policies in place that should ave prevented the mishap and will investigate those policies anew to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

More information from a local media report:

The hospital delivers 2,500 babies each year and about 2 stillborns each month. This is the first time infant remains have been lost, according to Chris Boese, chief nursing officer at Regions Hospital.

The hospital has “clear process and policy” to prevent this from happening and is conducting an investigation, Boese said. It is not unusual for remains to stay in the morgue for an extended period of time depending on how the family wishes for the remains to treated.

The commercial laundry, Crothall Laundry, notified the hospital after the remains were discovered Tuesday morning. Regions officials collected the remains “immediately,” the hospital said. The laundry called Red Wing police at 12:30 p.m.

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The hospital is “working to” notify the infant’s family, but Boese said Wednesday morning that the message had not yet been delivered.

Regions Hospital also said it would provide counseling to the employees of the linen service and hospital.

“Obviously, this hits close to home for those of us who work in health care,” said hospital spokesman Vince Rivard.