Stillborn Baby Found in Hospital Maintenance Closet

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

A hospital employee in Australia is speaking out after find the body of a stillborn baby in a utilities closet alongside used bed pans and dustbins.

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Daily is reporting that the body was found at Nambour General Hospital by a former Queensland Health employee who wishes to remain anonymous. She said she is haunted every day by the stark image of the dead baby laying in such a dirty place.

“The body was in an open little wooden crib with a plastic cloth and teddy on top,” she said. “I felt chills down my spine when I walked in and saw it. The baby could have been placed in a million different and better places.

“Hospitals have a morgue for a start, or if the baby was waiting until the parents were able to say goodbye to their child, then the baby should have been placed somewhere cleaner.”

Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay health service district chief executive Kevin Hegarty said Nambour hospital has a compassionate program in place for helping patients and family cope with the birth of a stillborn infant. This program involves bringing the baby from the mortuary to a discreet area where he or she is prepared before being brought to parents who want to spend time with their baby before burial.
“Part of the preparation includes ensuring the baby is appropriately groomed before being placed in a wrap and then into a symbolic wooden crib, before being taken to the parents,” he said. “This preparation is carried out in staff-only areas, but it must also be a clinically appropriate area.”

However, he did acknowledge that despite this process, it was possible that a stillborn baby might have been placed temporarily in a storage cupboard, although it would have only been for a short time.

The employee who reported the incident said she spoke out to ensure that measures were put in place to prevent this from ever happening again.

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