BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) - A family seeks punitive damages from a Texas hospital that allegedly delivered their stillborn baby to a funeral home frozen in a bucket.
Maritza and Joel Lievanos sued Valley Baptist Health System in Cameron County Court.
Upon arriving for the baby's funeral, "Mrs. Lievanos had the horrific experience of finding her son's body in a bucket," the complaint states. "The hospital had shoved the baby in the bucket with his head between his legs in liquid and froze the baby before turning possession of the body over to the funeral home that morning. The funeral service was canceled ..."
The Lievanos say in the complaint that 28 weeks into the pregnancy, "it was determined by one of her physicians that because her baby had a heart condition, he had passed away, and the pregnancy had to end."
She went into labor and delivered the stillborn baby on Dec. 17, 2011, at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville.
"At that time, she was also advised by hospital staff to make funeral arrangements for her child," the complaint states. "The plaintiffs acted on said advice. After going in for delivery and several hours passing, the child was delivered late that evening as a 15 inch, 3 lbs, 12.8 oz baby boy. His name was Mateo Lievanos, and after being wrapped in a newborn's blanket and placed into his parents' arms, plaintiffs Maritza and Joel Lievanos were able to spend some time with him before he had to be prepped to be transferred for funeral services at Delta Funeral Home in Brownsville."
The complaint continues: "Mateo's parents had scheduled a small service for their family and close friends on the morning of Monday, December 19, 2011. As soon as his mother was released from the hospital that day, she and her husband went to the funeral home. Upon arrival, Mrs. Lievanos had the horrific experience of finding her son's body in a bucket. The hospital had shoved the baby in the bucket with his head between his legs in liquid and froze the baby before turning possession of the body over to the funeral home that morning. The funeral service was canceled, and the plaintiffs were forced to cremate baby Mateo.
"The hospital clearly mishandled Mateo, and the hospital did not properly preserve him."
The Lievanos seek damages for negligence and emotional distress.
They are represented by Steve T. Hastings of Corpus Christi and Rosendo Almaraz Jr. of Weslaco.