Ohio woman sues hospital over photos of deceased newborn

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A woman whose infant son died after a premature birth filed a lawsuit against the hospital after it took pictures of the newborn after it had died. The infant lived only 26 days and during that time she took a limited number of pictures of the infant and asked that the hospital not take additional picture of the infant. She wanted to remember him as he was alive.

After the infant passed away and the mother returned home she received 150 pictures of her baby in the mail. The pictures were taken post mortem, and the baby’s body was posed in various positions. The baby’s body was wearing different clothes that the mother had never seen, and in some pictures was being held by an unknown woman.

The mother initially contacted the hospital directly to complain she did not feel that she received an adequate response to her complaints. She still does not know exactly who took the pictures, though the hospital changed it photograph policy as a result of the incident.

The woman is seeking unspecified damages based on negligent supervision of its staff by the hospital, abuse of a corpse, and infliction of emotional distress.

It seems that receiving these pictures in the mail would be very unsettling at best. But in this situation where the mother had made some very specific requests about photography so that she could choose how to remember her son it seems cruel. While the majority of hospitals and their staff do their best to respect their patients and their wishes a situation like this is troubling.

Source: Cincinati.com “Woman sues hospital over photos” Kimball Perry, May 20, 2011

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