2.27.2007

What's Easier to Haul Out of a Hospital? Dead Babies or Bowling Balls?

**SCROLL DOWN FOR EDITS**

I suppose it was only a matter of time before this blog started focusing on dead fetuses and stillborn babies. That time is now.

Washington Hospital Center has been fined $8,000 by the District for storing the remains of 95 stillborn babies and fetuses dating to 2001, far beyond the 30-day limit imposed under city law.

I really have no rational response for this. I guess what I don't get is that 95 (!) dead babies have been stored in a 2x2x4 refrigerated box, some of them for as long as six years. Whose job was it to put the dead babies in the box? Because all those other dead babies should have been a red flag. Like, that's too many dead babies. I'm almost completely lacking in the common sense department, but I'm pretty sure that I would tell someone if I knew that there was a box with 95 dead babies. Throwing another on the pile seems to be a bad way to deal with the issue.

Washington Hospital Center, which makes no mention of this on their website, has called this snafu an "administrative failure." No fucking duh. One would have to possess a pretty sick imagination to come up with a reason for the dead baby box that wasn't administrative failure.

Oh, and some of the babies weren't even documented. So Washington's infant mortality rates have been wrong for the past six years. Undocumented dead babies are the worst dead babies of all.

I'm being flippant about a really serious issue. I mean, a box of 95 dead babies, some of them undocumented, strikes me as ridiculously irresponsible. Six years! Six years worth of babies! I can't wrap my head around that so I'm going to deflect any feelings of sadness and disgust with humor. Unfortunately, anyone who has had a stillborn at Washington Hospital Center over the last six years doesn't have the luxury of thinking this is even remotely funny. I would imagine that this is opening all sorts of emotional doors that had been locked and boarded over the past few years. I send these people my condolences. They shouldn't have to be dealing with this again.

And if anyone is curious, the punchline to the joke in this post's title is: "Dead babies, because you can use a pitchfork."

**EDIT**

Hilariously, Howard University's Hospital also had a secret stash of still born babies and fetuses.

Howard University Hospital has 25 sets of remains in its morgue, some from 2003, officials said. When added to 95 sets of remains dating from 2001 reported recently by Washington Hospital Center, the District's infant mortality rate for the last several years is certain to rise, officials said.

I don't have any idea how hard it is to run a hospital. I would imagine that it's extraordinarily difficult. However, remembering to dispose of dead babies that have been locked in storage for four years can't be that difficult. It just can't.

That's more would-be mothers who are probably quite annoyed at hearing that their baby could very well have been in a storage cooler instead of in a final resting place. That can't feel good.

21 comments:

  1. Perhaps the most quotable blog post ever.

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  2. Ok, I'll ask the question:

    How much do they want for them?

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  3. My question is....why did they keep them at all? You'd think some people would bury their dead child. Maybe not? But to freeze them? How does one appropriately dispose of a dead baby? Honestly! I don't know!

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  4. LincolnParkerFebruary 27, 2007

    I only have anecdotal evidence, but from what I can tell there is typically a cremation. In certain cases the parents will want to have a burial in accordance with religious doctrine. An awful ordeal no matter what.

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  5. What's wrose is that the fetuses were being stored in the breakroom fridge next to Bob's meatloaf leftovers.

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  6. "Washington Hospital Center, which makes no mention of this on their website...."

    In public relations, we generally try NOT to advertise our failures. I'm guessing the tissue may have been useful for resale or research?

    I think they should start searching vehicles in the parking lot over there.

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  7. I'm wondering too why they kept them? Not that I would know what hospitals normally do with the little buggers. But you'd think the parents would want some part in the proper disposal of their child. But maybe it actually goes down like this....

    Doctor: "Here's your baby, it's stillborn though."

    Mother: "Nah thanks bra, you keep it. Later!"

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  8. This is great news. When the undead bring their reign of terror to D.C., we'll have enough bait to set a massive trap. Take that, zombies!

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  9. I, for one, welcome our new undead zombie stillborn baby overlords.

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  10. What happened re keeping the dead babies is that grieving parents had five days to decide whether to bury or cremate the corpses. Sometimes parents didn't make a decision and the babies ended up in administrative limbo.

    Or maybe the hospital's garbade disposal was broken. Who knows.

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  11. I totally want my dead baby to be in admistrative limbo.

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  12. So thats what that cafeteria "mystery meat" was! I thought it was spam!

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  13. Heartbreaking. I just can't imagine. A parent who has a stillborn child gets five days to decide what to do with the corpse? If my baby had been stillborn I couldn't have even functioned for five days or more. So after seven or 10 or 100 days a parent decides they want to bury their infant, and the hospital says "Sorry, you can't have it now. We've already deposited it in our dead baby bank. Better luck next time."

    Honestly...DC as a city/place to live is FOOKED UP.

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  14. Actually, five days is more than almost any other hospital. According to the article, most hospitals only give you 24 hours.

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  15. Can't SOMEONE think of the children!?

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  16. What's worse than 95 dead babies in one refrigerator? One dead baby in 95 refrigerators. Har har har...

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  17. Well, the thing is that frozen dead babies are kinda like leftovers in your refrigerator. You know they've been in there for too long, but that means they're nasty and moldy and it's just easier to push them to the back and forget about them until someone else cleans it up.

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  18. can you imagine a poor intern who FOUND a fridge full of dead babies? i bet it was some doctors sick joke: "first day on the job, eh? well you can leave your lunchbox in the fridge in room 304. off you go!"

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  19. It's like a sick episode of Scrubs.

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  20. My roommate and I are sitting here wondering why it is so easy to laugh at something so horrible. Must be the writing!

    Lucy and Melanie

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  21. dear god. i cant believe i never came across this entry before today. all i can think to say, in order to avoid nausiating sentiment, is *the one in the middle trying to eat its way out*

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