Stephen M. O'Brien III, PLLC - Personal Injury Attorneys
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Stillborn baby’s parents sue hospital for laughing at its body

While most hospital and birth injuries result in harm to the body, sometimes negligent practice can result in emotional scars. Kentucky residents may be interested in a case in New York that drastically illustrates the need for sensitivity in the delivery room, especially in cases of still birth.

When a New York City woman went into labor in her 20th week of pregnancy, she immediately headed to Harlem Hospital in an ambulance. The baby was born before paramedics arrived, and died en route. While neither she nor her husband implicated the hospital any way for the premature baby’s death, what allegedly followed created wounds in their hearts that they are unlikely to heal from soon.

When the couple arrived at the hospital, the child’s body was whisked away from the mother before she could hold it, and put in a jar of formaldehyde. The staffer reportedly left it on the counter in front of the devastated mother, while she gathered other employees to look at the remains. The parents describe the staffers laughing, ridiculing and criticizing her deceased baby’s body, using terms like “freak.” The father, who got to hold the baby in his hand briefly before it died, was made to wait in the waiting room for two hours while being refused any updates or contact with his wife — despite the fact that the couple had been married for 15 years.

The couple reports being traumatized by the hospital staff’s treatment of their tragedy, and the callous objectification of their baby. They claim that they were treated unprofessionally and insensitively, not allowed the right to hold and grieve their child, and were subjected to the experience of seeing staffers line up to gawk at their child in a jar immediately after suffering this loss. New York City’s Law Department reports that at present, officials are reviewing the allegations presented by the couple and their attorney.

While this alleged example of medical misconduct happened in New York City, it can happen anywhere, and not only in the context of a birth. Kentucky residents should know that medical injuries do not necessarily have to cause bodily harm to merit legal action. There are many types of medical negligence, and some hurt in ways that leave no trace. A personal injury attorney can answer your questions, and help determine your best course of action.

Source: New York Post, “Harlem Hospital made fun of our miscarried baby: Lawsuit” Kathianne Boniello, Nov. 24, 2013

O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC is located in Lexington, KY and serves clients in and around Lexington, Keene, Nicholasville, Versailles, Midway, Georgetown, Wilmore, Paris, Bourbon County, Fayette County, Jessamine County, Scott County and Woodford County.

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