Funeral Industry News

Mix-Up Led To Wrong Baby Being Cremated, Lack of Procedure…UPDATED

May 25, 2010

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Mix-Up Led To Wrong Baby Being Cremated, Lack of Procedure…UPDATED

imageLast month I listened to a great presentation from Mike Nicodemus titled “Cremation Litigation”. Mike talked about cremation procedures and how to avoid legal situations by following simple procedures. The following horrifc story could have been completely avoid if just one of the parties involved, the funeral home or corner, would have followed the simple procedure of checking the ID tag.

Mix-Up Led To Wrong Baby Being Cremated, Lack of Procedure

OLUMBUS, Ohio ? The Franklin County coroner apologized on Monday for a mix-up that led to the wrong baby’s body being cremated.

Dr. Jan M. Gorniak said her office failed to follow procedure and erroneously released the boy’s remains to a funeral home, 10TV’s Angela An reported.

Gorniak said the employee in question was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation into the matter.

Family members said 14-month old Jaylen Talley died earlier this month as a result of complications from an undiagnosed heart defect.

Marco Talley, the boy’s father, said the family was planning to bury the boy, but on Sunday afternoon Gorniak showed up at his home and said there had been a mix-up.

Jaylen Talley’s body was picked up from the coroner’s office last Wednesday and taken to the wrong funeral home, where it was mistaken for another child’s remains and cremated, An reported.

Marco Talley said it was a mistake that no one can fix.

“I can’t even bury him like I want to bury him,” he said. “I have to bury him like I have been made to. I don’t have a choice in the matter. The other family, I feel sorry for them because they wanted their child cremated. At least they can still cremate their son, but you can’t bring ashes back to a body.”

Gorniak personally apologized to both families involved, An reported.

“You should check that, triple check, a 1,000 times,” Marco Talley said. “The people giving the baby away and the people picking the baby up, both of them, the funeral home pickup and the coroner.”

Gorniak said the standard procedure before any body is released is to have two identification tags checked by a forensic technician and a funeral home representative.

She said she does not know why that did not happen.

Gorniak said further errors made by the Marlan J. Gary funeral home complicated the situation even more.

“Sorry does not cover it at all,” Gorniak said. “I’m deeply sorry, but I know that’s not enough. I cannot begin to understand what the family is going through and I extend my deepest apologies.”

Through their attorney, the funeral home said an authorization letter clearly stated a different child’s name to be picked up. They were investigating why the cremation service went ahead with cremating a body that had the wrong identification, An reported.

Marco Talley said his family is grieving twice.

“On top of all that, my son had a funeral with a whole bunch of people that he doesn’t even know, he already had a funeral without me, in ashes,” he said.

The grandmother of the other family involved would not disclose whether they plan to hold another funeral service.



Follow up to above story: Forensic Technician Fired After 14-Month-Old’s Body Mistakenly Cremated