In 2014, Andrea Lewis gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. Then, as if that wasn’t traumatic enough, the hospital informed her that they’d lost his body.
Yup, you read that right — New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan lost the child’s body. So, where did it go? How did one of the most prestigious hospitals in America make such a blunder? And why isn’t anyone talking?
If you have a lot of questions, you’re not alone. Finally, three years after the incident, a judge has ordered the hospital to tell Lewis what happened to her son’s body. As of March 23, they had 20 days to comply.
If morbid curiosity has led you to read Caitlin Doughty’s “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons From The Crematory,” you’re already aware that many stillborn babies are cremated on site. This is likely what happened to Lewis’ son, but if so, where are his ashes? Were they given to another family by accident?
Pathologists, like any profession, are bound to make mistakes. However, to deny this mother peace of mind is professionally unethical. In fact, it wasn’t until Lewis called them in an effort to make funeral arrangements that she was even aware that there was a problem. Shockingly, this call took place more than two weeks after the autopsy.
Lewis was able to hold her stillborn son after his birth. She has his footprints, photos, and other keepsakes to remember him by. But, as the judge said, “she was deprived of the ability to cremate her deceased child.” Sadly, she may never find out exactly what happened to her son’s body, but deserves every penny of the restitution she seeks for mental suffering, anguish, and sorrow.