Healthcare News & Insights

Hospital’s grisly mix-up sends grieving parents a stranger’s remains

A phone call no hospital administrator wants to make: Telling parents that they just buried a stranger’s remains instead of their child. A Houston area couple suffered a miscarriage when the mother was five months pregnant. They arranged with East Houston Medical Center to send the remains to a local funeral home for burial.

Two hours after the service, the couple got a call from the hospital: Due to an error, they had been given the big toe of another patient, instead of their fetus’ remains. The child’s grave was exhumed and the toe removed.

The couple is now suing the hospital for more than $100k, allegeing failure to properly identify the remains, negligence, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

So far, the hospital hasn’t responded publicly to the suit.

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