Stillborn baby sent to laundry; Regions Hospital apologizes

Christine Boese, Regions Hospital spokeswoman
Christine Boese, Regions Hospital spokeswoman, said the institution was "very saddened and deeply troubled" to learn that the body of a stillborn baby boy discovered among hospital linens at a Red Wing commercial laundry.
MPR Photo/Tim Nelson

Officials at Regions Hospital said that the body of a stillborn baby boy discovered among hospital linens at a Red Wing commercial laundry came from their morgue.

At a press conference at the hospital, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care Christine Boese said the hospital was ''very saddened and deeply troubled that something like this had happened.''

Boese said that the baby was stillborn at 22 weeks at the hospital, and was placed in Regions morgue in St.Paul. She said the remains were inadvertently included in soiled linen sent to Crothall Laundry in Red Wing, where workers discovered it. Witnesses reported the body was clothed in a diaper and had an ankle tag.

Red Wing police said they believe the baby was born on April 4th. Hospital officials said they couldn't discuss the case, or the baby's family.''We are working on reaching out to them today,'' she said.

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Boese said that Regions handles about 2,500 births a year, and typically about two a month are stillborn.

''When there's a stillborn, we work very closely with the family, to understand how they would like to handle the remains of the baby. Sometimes they ask us to take care of that, and other times they take care of that,'' Boese said.

She also said it wasn't unusual for the remains of a stillborn child to be at the hospital for a week or more. She said it wasn't clear when the remains got into the linen or when they were picked up from the hospital by the laundry service. She said it was clear that something went wrong.

''We are really sorry and saddened that this happened. We are taking a lot of steps and actions right now to understand how this did happen,'' Boese said.''We are really looking into things right now.''

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman said Regions had already retrieved the body when police responded. He said the investigation was turned over to the St. Paul Police Department.

Video: Regions Hospital head Christine Boese speaks