The parents got to know their child's body was missing when they got a call from the funeral home.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 30, 2022. It has since been updated.
Around midnight on July 23rd, 2020, Alana Ross and her fiance Daniel McCarthy rushed to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston after Alana's water broke. Two days later, Everleigh McCarthy was born via an emergency cesarean section. The little one, who arrived three months early, weighed about 2 lbs.
However, she soon developed a brain bleed, and doctors treating her in the NICU said she didn't have much time left. On August 6, they took her off life support, according to PEOPLE. The devastated parents said their goodbyes and handed their baby over to the nurses who cleaned her and dressed her in a white satin gown. The couple made arrangements for her funeral, and had come to the conclusion that Everleigh would be buried near the spot where McCarthy's grandmother was laid to rest.
But, the parents got a call that left them in shock. When the funeral home went to pick up the remains on August 10, they were unable to locate her body. "It's like she died all over again," Ross told The New York Times.
In the report, police wrote that detectives determined that Everleigh "was not placed in the proper area" of the morgue and "was probably mistaken as soiled linens" by a pathologist.
Apparently, based on interviews and surveillance footage, police said that the pathologist, who probably mistook Everleigh for soiled linen, placed the bundle "in the blue soiled linen bag inside the morgue examination room," which was then disposed of with other soiled linen, according to a police report.
Parents Sue Boston Hospital for Losing Their Baby's Remains: 'It's Like She Died All Over Again,' Says Mom - People https://t.co/ORDEXvD9oX— Wise_Diva (@wise_diva) June 25, 2022
When the pathologist was first questioned, he stated that no soiled linens were removed from the morgue the day after Everleigh was brought there by two nurses. However, the pathologist later admitted to seeing linen on one of the stainless-steel trays in the morgue cooler, which he then disposed of, thinking it was a "left-over blanket," per the report.
On June 23, 2022, nearly two years after the traumatic incident, Ross and McCarthy sued Brigham and Women's Hospital and 14 hospital employees. The lawsuit alleges that their daughter's body was mistaken for dirty linen due to a series of missteps by nurses and other hospital staffers.
In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Dr. Sunil Eappen, Brigham and Women's Hospital's chief medical officer, expressed "our deepest sympathies and most sincere apologies to the Ross and McCarthy family for their loss and the heartbreaking circumstances surrounding it."
"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," Eappen wrote. "Due to pending litigation, we are unable to comment specifically on this case."
"They've been dealing with the trauma and grief of losing Everleigh twice," their attorney Greg Henning shared. "They feel the only way that people are held accountable is to file a lawsuit. We don't want anybody else to go through this. We want them to fix this," the mother said. Now, the couple is hoping to move past the trauma and grow as a family once again, their attorney said. "They've been looking to have a family and become parents," says Henning. "They're still looking forward to having a family in the future."
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Ivan-balvan