Family given remains to wrong baby in stillborn mixup

August 2, 2012 3:19:28 PM PDT
A family from Brooklyn buried the wrong baby after a mix-up at the New York City Medical Examiners office.

"I'm hurt, to the point where I can't move forward. I want my baby to be put to peace," said Justyna Sliwa.

Sliwa and her family have now been waiting nearly two months. It was back in May that Justyna, her husband Raphael, and their 3-year-old girl were happily anticipating the birth of Justyna's new baby.

But when she was just five months pregnant, they learned the baby had no heartbeat and in June, at Bellvue Hospital, Justyna had to deliver a stillborn.

The Sliwa's come from Poland and in accordance with their religious beliefs, they gave the baby a funeral both in Brooklyn and in Poland, where the baby they named Angel was then buried.

But days later a bizarre phone call from a lawyer at the Medical Examiner's office sounding almost casual.

The Sliwa's were finally told about the mix-up that the baby they buried in Poland, was actually someone else's.

"He said, that he's 100 percent sure that my child is here and we've buried the wrong one, but how can you believe him after they made a mistake like this," said Sliwa.

A spokeswoman at the Medical Examiner's office calls the mix-up "a tragic, unfortunate error we have to make right."

But the Sliwa's lawyer insists it's not the first mix-up.

Last year in Staten Island, a 17-year-old boy was buried while his brain was left on display at a local morgue.

"It's happening too often, and obviously there's a complete dysfunction in that office," said Susan Karten.

Meanwhile the Sliwa's await DNA testing before they exhume the body in Poland, and grieve all over again.

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