An Oregon couple is suing for $3 million after they say they were given the wrong baby’s cremated ashes.
PORTLAND — Oregon parents have filed a $3 million lawsuit against a hospital and other defendants, claiming they were given cremated ashes from the wrong baby.
The lawsuit says Norma Arellano and Sergio Maldonado were given the ashes of a baby girl instead of their son, who died five days after his premature birth.
The parents held funeral services, visited family and set up a shrine with the ashes.
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Gable Funeral Chapel and First Call Plus of Oregon Mortuary Services are named in the lawsuit.
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Changes have been made to prevent similar mistakes, Providence St. Vincent chief executive Janice Burger said in a statement emailed to The Oregonian/OregonLive .
“All of us at Providence are deeply sorry for what happened, and we regret the emotional and spiritual pain and distress we have caused this family,” Burger said.
Hospital spokesman Gary Walker said in an email that the similar names of the babies contributed to the mix-up. He said the hospital now requires employees to go to the morgue with any funeral home or mortuary workers.
“Together, they go through a series of checks and double checks to confirm the identity of the remains being transported,” he said.
The chapel and mortuary service declined to comment on the lawsuit filed last week.
“It’s been a devastating experience for both of them,” said John O’Hara, a lawyer representing the parents. “They didn’t have the baby very long, but they became very close to him. … The whole thing was just a total shock.”