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Not The ‘Oops’ You Want To Hear: Grieving Family Is Told They Buried The Wrong Stillborn

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stillbornEvery 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 examiner’s office, says that the babies had “strikingly 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,” she said.

Heartbroken Justyna reportedly started crying when she got the news, saying:

“Words can’t express how I feel, to be honest,” the 22-year-old mom told The Post yesterday. “It’s devastating. Losing a child and then finding this out — it’s horrible.”

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!

(photo: Darla Hallmark/ Shutterstock)

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