Alana Ross and her husband, Dan McCarthy, filed a lawsuit against the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston after an employee allegedly discarded their daughter’s body a day after she died.
Ross had already experienced two heartbreaking miscarriages before becoming pregnant with her daughter Everleigh, who was born prematurely at 2 pounds and 5 ounces on July 25, 2020, WCVB reported. The newborn went on to live for 12 days in the medical center’s neonatal intensive care unit before she died on Aug. 6, shattering the couple’s hopes of establishing a family. Instead, Ross said the staff at Brigham allowed her to hold the baby as she passed away in her arms.
“They let me hold her while she died, while I was holding her. She was baptized. And then, when she was gone, they took her from us but kept her in the room and dressed her in a white gown and let us say goodbye one more time as we walked out of the room. That was the last time we saw her,” Ross said.
Ross and McCarthy said the staff had ensured them that Everleigh’s remains would be safe in the hospital’s morgue. However, the couple faced another distressing situation when the funeral home came to pick up the body, and their daughter’s remains were missing.
“I thought it was some technical error. Surely she’s just somewhere else in the hospital or at the worst, she’s at another funeral home by accident, and they would just go and retrieve her,” Ross said.
The couple received fewer answers from the hospital, prompting them to call the Boston police to conduct an investigation. Then, they decided to file a lawsuit against the medical center.
According to the lawsuit, three employees delivered Everleigh’s body wrapped in hospital linen to the morgue. Another employee was reportedly in the cooler, standing in the way of the rack meant to hold deceased children’s bodies. When the nurses asked where to place the infant’s remains, the employee told them, “you can put it anywhere,” the suit read.
As a result, they placed Everleigh’s body on the rack meant for adults.
Police believed another worker came in the following day and threw away the body and soiled linen, not realizing human remains were in them.
“Being thrown away like trash when so many people loved her. It just rips my heart out of my chest because so many people were so happy that she was part of the family,” Ross said. “It was just so heartbreaking. We would never get to bury her and them. We wouldn’t even get to know where she ended up.”
The police retraced the route of the linen in their efforts to find the remains when they learned a local linen service picked up soiled items three-four times a week. When human waste is found, it’s deposited into a compactor and taken to a transfer station outside town. According to the suit, police found human waste at the transfer facility where they searched “soiled linens, towels, rags and hazardous waste such as blood and feces” with transfer staff workers for eight hours for two days.
“I would like to thank them. They did exactly what I would have done for hours relentlessly. And I am eternally grateful for them trying,” Ross said.
The couple said they still have not received an explanation from the hospital regarding the situation and their daughter’s remains.
On Thursday, the lawsuit filed by Ross and McCarthy named Mass General Brigham and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as 14 individual employees as defendants in the case.
“I want to know what happened. I want them to be held accountable. I just I don’t want anybody else to have to go through this pain,” Ross told the outlet.
“Every night, I go to bed, and I don’t know where she is. And that’s a terrible feeling. I know I have to live with that for the rest of my life,” McCarthy said.