Body in Hospital Linens: Stillborn Baby Tossed Out With Dirty Sheets

Image: Body in Hospital Linens: Stillborn Baby Tossed Out With Dirty Sheets Chris Boese, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, speaks to the press Wednesday morning, April 17, 2013, about the dead infant found in Red Wing, Minnesota.

Wednesday, 17 Apr 2013 02:25 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Workers at a Minneapolis laundry discovered the body of a stillborn baby Tuesday in a load of linens that had been dropped off from a St. Paul hospital in what officials are calling a "terrible mistake."

Police are investigating how the baby's remains came to be tangled up in the load of bed sheets from Regions Hospital that was delivered to Crothall Laundry in Red Wing on Tuesday.

"What we have is that when they were preparing the laundry, a baby had fallen out of a sheet, and that they had called the hospital where the laundry had come from, and that they immediately sent people down to pick it up," Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman told the Star Tribune. "It was after this had taken place that we received a call."

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Hospital officials said the infant's body had been wrapped in linens at the hospital's morgue but were unable to provide an explanation as to how it ended up at the laundry service, only saying it was a "terrible mistake."

"This was a terrible mistake, and we are deeply sorry," Chris Boese, the hospital's chief nursing officer, said in a statement Wednesday. "We have processes in place that should have prevented this but did not. We are working to identify the gap in our system, and to make sure this does not happen again."

The body was that of a baby boy that was stillborn April 4 at 22 weeks development, according to The Associated Press.

Police have reportedly opened a death investigation and the medical examiner's office is examining the body. The hospital said it was notifying the family to apologize, and was offering support and counseling to employees of the laundry service.

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"It’s tough; that’s why we’re trying to do a thorough job and be careful that we don’t try to speculate," Pohlman told the Tribune. "Right now, there’s just so many unanswered questions, and we want to respect the hospital’s and family’s rights. Somebody should know where this came from. Until we can get it all pieced together, I want to make sure that we respect everyone involved."

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