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New procedures adopted at Montreal hospital where dead baby tossed in laundry

Last Updated: Friday, January 23, 2009 | 4:50 PM ET

A Montreal-area hospital is employing stricter measures in its morgue after the body of a stillborn baby was taken off the premises in a bundle of dirty laundry.

Employees of a Montreal laundromat discovered the body last week while they were washing sheets from the Lakeshore General Hospital in the west-end suburb of Pointe Claire.

Hospital director Suzanne Turmel said the corpse was transferred to the pathology department after an autopsy was done and was to be kept there until it was picked up by the funeral home.

But an employee accidentally picked up the baby's corpse, which was wrapped in regulation blue flannel, thinking it was dirty laundry.

The bundle was tossed in a laundry chute.

Turmel says the institution conducted an internal investigation, and no disciplinary action will be taken against the unidentified staff member.

"We feel very sad that this happened," she said Friday. "It was very hard for myself [and] my personnel to go through this. But when an incident like this happens, what we have to look at is what measures we can put in place to better our institution."

Those measures will include keeping the bodies of deceased babies in a bassinette from now on to avoid any mix-ups and doing regular body counts at the morgue and in the pathology department.

Turmel wouldn't say what, if any, compensation is being offered to the family but indicated they were receiving counselling.

The baby was born at 34 weeks gestation, according to the hospital.

Corrections and Clarifications

  • The baby was not 34 weeks old at the time of death, as originally reported. The baby was born at 34 weeks gestation. Jan. 23, 2008 | 8:35 p.m. ET
With files from the Canadian Press
  •  
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