Parents sue Portland hospital for $3 million after wrong baby cr - KPTV - FOX 12

Parents sue Portland hospital for $3 million after wrong baby cremated

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A local family said the tragic death of their newborn became even worse after they were given the wrong baby's ashes.

The parents of a premature baby who died just days after he was born have now filed a $3 million lawsuit against a Portland hospital, funeral home and mortuary service for the mistake.

Elijah Maldonado was born at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in January 2015. He died just five days later because of extreme internal hemorrhage from being born prematurely.

Two days later, a Gable Funeral Chapel worker came to pick up the baby's body and gave it an identification number.

In the lawsuit, the family claims a hospital and funeral worker both had to confirm the body's identification. Instead, the funeral home took a baby girl's body who had died in October 2014.

The baby girl's body was brought to First Call Plus of Oregon Mortuary Services to be cremated, and was then given to Elijah's family.

The family held a funeral for Elijah and took the urn with what they thought was their son's ashes to other family members to remember their son's life.

Last June, more than four months later, the family said the funeral home director told them the cremated remains were not their son's. He told them Saint Vincent's was aware and chose not to contact them.

The parents went to the hospital and found Elijah's body was still there. The parents could identify him only because of the blanket the baby was wrapped in.

Providence St. Vincent responded to the suit by releasing a statement:

"All of us at Providence are deeply sorry for what happened, and we regret the emotional and spiritual pain and distress we have caused this family. We strive to care for each person we serve with compassion and excellence.  It saddens us if an error is made, and compels us to learn and work even harder to ensure it doesn't happen again. People trust us when they come to us for care. Incidents such as this one break that sacred trust. We have made immediate changes to our processes. We want to restore that trust."

Providence told FOX 12 they reached out to the family just a few days after realizing the mistake, and never tried to hold information from them.

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