Family of stillborn baby thrown out with dirty laundry sues Regions Hospital

The suit says laundry employees spread photos of the body online.

More than four years after the world learned about the disturbingly undignified treatment of her stillborn baby, the bereaved mother is suing the St. Paul hospital that disposed of her child in the laundry. 

Esmerelda Hernandez delivered the boy – who she named José – at Regions Hospital in April of 2013, but the birth was several weeks early. He did not survive.

"Regions promised to cremate Baby José in a respectful and dignified manner," the lawsuit says. "Instead, Regions threw Baby José's body out with Regions' dirty laundry."

A worker at the laundry facility where Regions sent its linens made a shocking discovery 13 days later, according to the lawsuit filed last week in Ramsey County. 

The employee "was horrified when he opened Regions' dirty laundry and Baby José's body, still in his diaper and hospital identification bracelets, flew out and landed on a metal grate."

"Laundry workers gawked at Baby José, took photos of him, and sent pictures of him into cyberspace," the lawsuit added. 

Eventually, Regions was notified and collected José's remains. 

Lawyers for Hernandez are now making several accusations against Regions, including that the hospital "decided not to tell Baby José's family about what they had done to him."

Only after the story made worldwide headlines, the lawyers note, did the infant's family start asking questions.

Additionally, police investigators also later discovered that José was actually "the second baby found at the [laundry] business" – despite the hospital's earlier claims that "this has never happened before."

The lawsuit is seeking damages "far in excess" of $50,000.

In a statement sent to GoMN, a spokesperson for the hospital said:

"We want to say again that we are truly sorry for our mistake. We immediately reached out to the family in 2013 to apologize and to try to help ease their loss. We have continued to work with their lawyer – always open to a reasonable resolution. We also took immediate steps to ensure that this would not happen again."

The statement added that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services went over and approved the updated processes in 2014, and said the hospital will continue to do so.

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