In a heart-wrenching case from Ohio, a grieving mother says her local hospital lost the body of her stillborn infant, possibly in the laundry.
Cleveland 19 News reports the baby’s body has been missing for more than a week. Staff at Mercy Hospital in Lorain, Ohio said they are not sure what happened to the deceased baby girl of Shadaria Whitfield.
Whitfield gave birth to her stillborn daughter on Aug. 20 at the hospital; the baby was six months along and died in the womb, according to the report. Whitfield named her daughter Joh’nae, Fox 8 reports.
Ten days later, when Whitfield learned that the hospital misplaced her daughter’s body, she called the police.
Pearlean Bohannon, Whitfield’s grandmother, said the young woman told her that the funeral home went to the hospital three times to pick up her baby’s remains, but the hospital staff could not find the body.
“My granddaughter called and said, ‘Grandma they lost my baby,’” Bohannon told reporters. “As of Monday, I believe they told her that maybe it was sent out through the laundry — washed up.”
According to local reports, authorities plan to search a nearby landfill for the baby’s body. A police report described the matter as “suspicious.”
The hospital issued a statement of apology to Whitfield and her family and said it has “implemented revised processes” to prevent such an agonizing incident from ever occurring again.
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“We are deeply sorry for the additional distress arising from this incident,” the hospital statement said. “Mercy deeply regrets the occurrence of this event and is working to remedy the situation. With profound empathy for the family’s feelings, we are continuing to investigate all aspects of this matter.”
Bohannon told the news station that her granddaughter is overcome with grief, and she asked for prayers. She told Fox 8 that her granddaughter was driving when the hospital called and told her that they lost her baby’s body.
“To sit down, talk to her, have an interview,” Bohannon said. “They told her this over the phone while she was driving. Well, my God, she could have had an accident. She could have killed herself.”
“It’s unforgivable,” she continued. “It’s like no one cared! How can you just lose a baby? How can you lose anybody? It’s hard for all of us to understand. It’s hard for us to understand how can anyone misplace a baby? How can anyone misplace a dog? A dog runs away, and somebody bring them back, but a baby? It’s just a situation that we cannot understand.”
The family said they plan to hold a memorial service for baby Joh’nae.
This is not the first case to occur in Ohio. Cleveland 19 reports the UC Medical Center in Cincinnati also lost the body of a stillborn baby last September.