Not The ‘Oops’ You Want To Hear: Grieving Family Is Told They Buried The Wrong Stillborn
Every story regarding a “miracle baby” being discovered alive in a morgue consistently reminds me that everyone has the capacity to screw up. Even the people that you definitely don’t want screwing up anything to do with you or your family — like the medical examiner’s office.
The Associated Press confirms the story that was circulating for most of yesterday that a grieving family in Brooklyn buried the wrong baby due to a stillborn mixup. Justyna and Rafal Sliwa reportedly went in for a 5-month sonogram only to learn that their baby had no heartbeat. The 22-year-old mother was then induced into delivering the baby, telling the staff that she wanted the remains sent to her native Poland for a burial. She also requested to know the gender of the baby and receive a copy of the footprints.
No footprints or gender confirmation ever arrived though and the couple held a service in Brooklyn in mid-June. Three days later, a small funeral was held for Angel, as they named the child, in Lomza, Poland. Come early July, the couple received a call from the medical examiner’s office saying that the child they buried was not their own. Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examinerâ€™s office, says that the babies had â€œstrikingly similar names.” To their credit, the office called both families immediately upon noticing the error. And they seem mortified:
“…[The mixup is a] tragic, unfortunate error we have to make right. The city will be taking all steps we can to make sure the correct baby is buried in the correct place,â€ she said.
Heartbroken Justyna reportedly started crying when she got the news, saying:
â€œWords canâ€™t express how I feel, to be honest,â€ the 22-year-old mom told The Post yesterday. â€œItâ€™s devastating. Losing a child and then finding this out â€” itâ€™s horrible.â€
She has since dried her eyes, metaphorically speaking, and has slapped a $5 million notice of claim with her husband. The pair have hired a lawyer and are calling for an independent investigation of the situation. It doesn’t help matters that this particular ME office reportedly held onto the brains of individuals after an autopsy — without the families’ knowledge — four times!