by Aimee Green, The Oregon Live
The parents of a premature baby boy who died after five days have filed a $3 million lawsuit against St. Vincent Medical Center, a funeral home and a mortuary service, claiming employees misidentified and cremated the remains of the wrong baby.
Norma Arellano and Sergio Maldonado received the ashes of a baby girl instead, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
They held funeral services with those ashes, traveled with the ashes to see family and displayed the urn in a religious shrine, according to one of their attorneys. The parents learned of the mistake five months later from the funeral home and suspect a cover-up by the hospital.
“It’s been a devastating experience for both of them,” said Portland attorney John O’Hara, who is representing the parents along with Portland attorney George McCoy. “They’re both strong family people. They didn’t have the baby very long, but they became very close to him. … The whole thing was just a total shock.”
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