Parents file lawsuit against Boston hospital after remains of premature baby lost in morgue

BOSTON — The parents of a premature baby who passed away at a Boston hospital have filed a lawsuit after the infant’s remains got lost in the facility’s morgue while funeral and burial arrangements were being made, court paperwork stated.

Alana Ross and Daniel McCarthy, of Sharon, learned they were expecting a baby on February 20, 2020, and named their child Everleigh. They later chose to have their baby at Brigham and Women’s Hospital because the healthcare facility marketed itself as being “the most trusted name in women’s health,” according to a lawsuit that was filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court.

Ross delivered Everleigh on July 25, 2020, and she was born prematurely and suffered from medical complications. She was immediately taken to the NICU for treatment.

The couple was finally allowed to hold their daughter on Aug. 1, 2020, but further treatment options were exhausted and Everleigh passed away a few days later.

An unnamed hospital staffer informed the couple that Everleigh’s body would “safely be transported to the morgue” to allow time for arrangements to be made, according to the lawsuit.

When representatives from the Gillooly Funeral Home arrived at the hospital for pickup on Aug. 10, 2020, Everleigh’s remains were nowhere to be found.

A patient transport worker told nurses who were in charge of moving Everleigh’s remains to the morgue that they could “put it anywhere,” the lawsuit alleges. The hospital also allegedly failed to electronically document her remains, which were said to be left on a metal rack designated for adults.

The documents further stated that Everleigh’s remains were likely thrown away with “soiled linens” from the morgue.

The Boston Police Department was later notified of what had transpired and law enforcement officials traced the soiled linens to a transfer station that collected medical waste from the hospital.

Officers spent many hours “digging through blood-soaked clothing, feces-covered linens, and other medical waste” in effort to find Everleigh’s remains, but their work proved unsuccessful, according to police.

When asked how likely it was that he threw away the baby in a soiled linen container, a worker told investigators that it “seems like the likely scenario” and that “mistakes of other people who have access to the morgue set off a chain of events that were unavoidable.”

The lawsuit also claims that the hospital was “aware of problems with the management and conditions of its morgue” prior to the disappearance of Everleigh.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital sent a statement to Boston 25 about the case.

“We continue to express our deepest sympathies and most sincere apologies to the Ross and McCarthy family for their loss and the heartbreaking circumstances surrounding it,” said Sunil Eappen, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“As with any instance in which there is a concern raised related to our standard of care or practice, we readily and transparently shared the details with the patient’s family. We always evaluate both system and human factors that contribute to errors or potential issues raised by patients, family members or staff and take action. Due to pending litigation, we are unable to comment specifically on this case,” said Dr. Eappen.

Everleigh’s remains have yet to be found.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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