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'Terrible mistake': Minnesota hospital sends stillborn baby to laundry service

A Minnesota hospital apologized Wednesday after the remains of a stillborn baby boy wrapped in linens were mistaken for dirty laundry and delivered to a cleaning service.

Regions Hospital officials said they were notifying the stillborn infant’s family to apologize and providing counseling to employees at the laundromat where the baby was found Tuesday.

“This is a terrible mistake, and we are deeply sorry,” Chris Boese, the hospital’s chief nursing officer, said in a statement. “We have processes in place that should have prevented this but did not. We are working to identify the gap in our system, and to make sure this does not happen again.”

The baby’s body was discovered Tuesday afternoon when it tumbled out of a bed sheet at Crothall Laundry in Red Wing, Minn., according to Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman.

The infant had a tag on his ankle and was wearing a diaper, according to Pohlman.

Pohlman said workers at the laundry service called Regions Hospital, which promptly dispatched officials to retrieve the infant’s remains. Police then arrived at the scene to interview the laundromat’s shaken employees.

The infant had been in the hospital’s morgue before being accidentally transferred to the laundry service, Boese told reporters at a Wednesday morning press conference. Hospital officials do not yet know why or how the infant’s remains were transported, but Pohlman said police had no indication of foul play.

“We are talking to all involved staff that might have been involved in any of this,” Boese said.

The baby had been delivered stillborn on April 4 at 22 weeks in gestational development, Pohlman said. Boese could not confirm the date of delivery at Wednesday's press conference.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office willl examine the baby's remains, according to Pohlman.