Couple sues Boston hospital over loss of baby’s body

Jun 24, 2022, 12:56 PM | Updated: 1:21 pm

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts couple whose prematurely-born baby girl died less than two weeks after she was delivered has sued one of Boston’s most prestigious hospitals for losing the infant’s body, denying the parents the opportunity to hold a proper funeral and burial.

The lawsuit filed Thursday says that baby Everleigh’s body was inadvertently thrown away by a Brigham and Women’s Hospital employee along with soiled linens from the hospital’s morgue.

Everleigh’s parents, Alana Ross and Daniel McCarthy, “suffered severe emotional distress and anguish, and have suffered physical manifestations and harms as a result of the severe and profound emotional distress inflicted” upon them, according to the suit filed in Suffolk Superior Court.

“It was traumatic enough to lose their daughter, but it was like losing her all over again when she was literally thrown away,” the couple’s attorney, Greg Henning, said Friday. “They lost her twice.”

The hospital, parent company Mass General Brigham, as well as more than a dozen employees are named as defendants. The suit claims breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress; and wrongful interference with human remains. The couple, who live in Sharon, is seeking more than $1.3 million in damages, according to court documents.

The lawsuit alleges that Brigham and Women’s was aware of the “problems with management and conditions” at the morgue even before Everleigh went missing.

Dr. Sunil Eappen, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in a statement that while he cannot comment on the specifics of the case, he sympathizes with the family.

“We continue to express our deepest sympathies and most sincere apologies to the Ross and McCarthy family for their loss and the heartbreaking circumstances surrounding it,” he said. “As with any instance in which there is a concern raised related to our standard of care or practice, we readily and transparently shared the details with the patient’s family.”

McCarthy, 37, and Ross, 36, who have been in a committed relationship for years and were engaged in 2019, were “thrilled” when they found out on Feb. 20, 2020, that Ross was pregnant after multiple attempts to have a child, Henning said.

Everleigh was delivered prematurely on July 25, 2020, weighing 2 pounds, 5 ounces (1 kg). She “suffered medical complications” and was transferred to intensive care.

Her parents held Everleigh for the first time on Aug. 1, read to her, maintained a constant vigil, and had her baptized before she died in her mother’s arms on Aug. 6, 2020.

Her swaddled body was transferred to the hospital morgue to give Ross and McCarthy a few days to make funeral arrangements. But, according to the suit, a hospital employee placed the baby on a table that was “not the appropriate or the designated place for the delivery of infant remains to the morgue,” because another worker was blocking the racks designed for children.

Apparently, no one knew the baby was missing until Aug. 10 when a funeral home representative arrived at the hospital to pick up the body. Everleigh could not be found.

Her parents contacted Boston police on Aug. 11, who investigated and determined, through video surveillance and employee interviews, that Everleigh was likely thrown away with soiled linens from the morgue on Aug. 7.

Police traced where the body might have ended up, and on two occasions police investigators as well as trash company workers sifted through mountains of medical debris often covered in blood and human waste to find Everleigh, to no avail.

McCarthy and Ross are faithful Catholics and wanted a proper funeral and burial for their daughter so they always had a place they could visit her, Henning said.

Now all they have is a box containing a few photos, baptismal water, handprints, footprints and a knit hat.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is shown at the defense table after the d...
Associated Press

Prosecutors to begin Florida school shooter trial rebuttal

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz will begin their rebuttal case Tuesday, challenging his attorneys’ contention that he murdered 17 people because his birth mother abused alcohol during pregnancy, a condition they say went untreated. Prosecutor Mike Satz’s team is expected to call experts who […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Labour conference starts with focus on ‘immoral’ tax cuts

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s opposition Labour Party opened its annual conference Sunday, with leaders attacking the “immoral” tax-cutting of the new Conservative government. The event, this year taking place in the northern city of Liverpool, kicked off two days after the U.K government, under new Prime Minister Liz Truss, said it would scrap a 45% […]
5 hours ago
Police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against a partial mobilization in Moscow, Ru...
Associated Press

Winter’s approach sets clock ticking for Ukraine, Russia

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The onset of autumnal weather, with rains making fields too muddy for tanks, is beginning to cloud Ukraine’s efforts to take back more Russian-held territory before winter freezes the battlefields, a Washington-based think tank said Sunday. Russia, meanwhile, pressed on with its call-up of hundreds of thousands of men to throw […]
5 hours ago
In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, s...
Associated Press

German leader continues Gulf tour with stops in UAE, Qatar

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz planted a tree at a mangrove park in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, a token nod to environmentalism during a two-day visit to the Gulf region focused mainly on securing new fossil fuel supplies and forging fresh alliances against Russia. Germany is trying to wean itself off […]
5 hours ago
A baker stacks loaves of Egyptian traditional "baladi" flatbread outside a bakery, in the Old Cairo...
Associated Press

Poverty and inflation: Egypt’s economy hit by global turmoil

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Stores are selling winter clothes from last season in the middle of summer. Repair shops lack spare parts for appliances. There’s a waiting list to buy a new car. Egypt, a country of more than 103 million people, is running low on foreign currency needed to buy essentials like […]
1 day ago
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical...
Associated Press

Florida monitors a growing Tropical Storm Ian in Caribbean

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities and residents in Florida were keeping a cautious eye on Tropical Storm Ian as it rumbled through the Caribbean on Sunday, expected to continue gaining strength and become a major hurricane in the coming days on a forecast track toward the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Couple sues Boston hospital over loss of baby’s body