Florida hospital loses deceased newborn son’s body after autopsy, lawsuit claims

A grieving Florida couple alleges that a hospital lost the body of their newborn baby after he died, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The parents, Kathryn and Travis Wilson, allege in a lawsuit filed earlier this summer that St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa was negligent and recklessly inflicted emotional distress after losing the body of their newborn son, Jacob.

The parent organization of the hospital, BayCare Health System, told the newspaper in a written statement that it has “investigated all avenues and fully cooperated in all search efforts” to locate the child’s body.

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“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Wilsons for the loss of their child,” the health system’s statement said. “We also deeply regret not being able to account for the remains. St. Joseph’s leadership and all personnel in our morgues are committed that this unforeseen situation will not happen again.”

Kathryn Wilson gave birth to Jacob on Feb. 25 and he died three days later, according to the lawsuit. The hospital hired a transportation service to bring the child’s body to Orlando for an autopsy, and the body was returned to St. Joseph’s wrapped in blankets and inside a body bag, the newspaper reports, citing court documents. The body bag was put on a stretcher and stored in the hospital’s morgue, WTVT reports.

Hospital staff on March 5 called Kathryn and told her she could finalize arrangements for a funeral. The following day, the couple visited with a funeral home and notified the hospital of their plans.

But on March 11, the hospital gave the couple horrifying news: their son’s body could not be found.

The lawsuit alleges that as a result of losing their son’s body, the Wilsons have experienced trauma that has “manifested as physical pain, anguish and loss of the capacity to enjoy life,” the complaint alleges, according to the newspaper.

The Wilsons assert that the hospital’s conduct was “outrageous as to go beyond all bounds of decency as it is regarded odious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” according to court documents obtained by the newspaper.

The suit, which was filed June 9 in Hillsborough County, seeks upwards of $30,000 in damages.

Douglas K. Burnetti, the lawyer for the couple, declined to answer questions from the Tampa Bay Times but said he is in talks with the hospital.

Jacob’s body remains missing.

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[Feature Photo: Pixabay]