Hospital apologises for keeping baby in fridge

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A hospital which kept a miscarried baby boy in a fridge for almost two years without his mother's permission promised today that it would never happen again.

Leanne McCabe told bosses at Warrington Hospital to cremate her first child, Ty, in September 2006 after he died at just 12 weeks.

The 25-year-old only found out Ty's body was being stored when she tried to make funeral arrangements for her second miscarried son, Jonah.

After the second miscarriage in May last year Ms McCabe, of Runcorn, Cheshire, was told by medics that it would be three months before she could arrange Jonah's funeral because the post-mortem examination needed to be done.

But when she tried to arrange the funeral she was told Jonah had been cremated without her permission but Ty's body was still available.

Ms McCabe's complaints prompted an investigation which revealed the hospital ignored other families' wishes.

Today, a spokesman for Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "We are truly sorry for the distress caused to Leanne and her family and have worked very closely with them to provide the appropriate support they needed once we identified what had happened.

"We have fully investigated this case and it was caused by an administrative error.

"As a result of the investigation we are also aware of one other case from 2006 and one from 2007 where there was a delay in carrying out a family's requested instructions.

"We have however followed those families' instructions as per their requests.

"We have fully reviewed our systems and strengthened the processes in this area to further ensure that this cannot happen again.

"Dignity and respect are of paramount importance to us in any case involving the loss of a baby and we pride ourselves on the very high standards we have in providing the support that mothers and families need at such a difficult time.

"Our staff are deeply upset that any error has occurred but we can reassure families that all other cremations and burials organised by the hospitals have taken place as per their wishes.

"Sometimes there can be a delay in arranging a burial or cremation as we give the family time to consider what they wish to do or we wait for them to contact us when the time is right for them to do so but again, we can assure people that all their wishes have been followed in the right timescales in every other case."