Parents sue Portland hospital after wrong newborn cremated

0510 wrong remains crematedPortland, Ore. — An Oregon family is suing after they say the hospital cremated the wrong baby’s remains and gave them the ashes.

Elijah Maldonado was born at Providence Saint 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 I.D. number.

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

Her body was then brought to First Call Mortuary services to be cremated, and was then given to Elijah’s family.

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

Then last June, more than four months later, the family says the funeral home director told them the cremated remains were not their son’s. They say he told them Providence Saint Vincent was aware and chose not to contact them.

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

Providence Saint Vincent is responding to the suit. They sent out a statement saying in part, “We are deeply sorry for what happened. We made a mistake and we have apologized in person to the family.” It went on to say, “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 Hospital says it reached out to the family just a few days after realizing the mistake, and never tried holding information from them.

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