Stillborn Mix-Up: Family Receives, Buries Wrong Remains

The stillborn mix-up at the New York City Medical Examiner’s office has forced a family of three to start the grieving process all over again. Justyna and Raphael Sliwa recently experienced a loss no couple should ever have to face: The latest addition to their growing family was stillborn. After receiving the remains from Bellevue Hospital, the Polish coupleand their 3-year-old daughter, in accordance with their religious beliefs, gave the baby a funeral in both Brooklyn and Poland, the latter of which is where the remains were buried.

However, according to ABC News, the family received some very unsettling news following the burial of their child in the couple’s native land: The stillborn baby they received wasn’t theirs. The news came from a lawyer presenting the medical examiner’s office, who, the Sliwas explained, broke the news to the grieving family in a strangely casual manner.

“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,” Justyna explained.

The Daily Mail reports that Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner’s office, called the mistake “tragic” and “an unfortunate error.” Borakove added, “The city will be taking all steps we can to make sure the correct baby is buried in the correct place.”

The reason for such a ridiculous mistake: The babies apparently had very similar names. The Sliwas, meanwhile, have hired lawyer Susan Karten to prepare a lawsuit against the ME’s office.


“It’s happening too often, and obviously there’s a complete dysfunction in that office,” Karten explained.

If dealing with this situation wasn’t heartbreaking enough, the couple must now exhume the remains of the child they buried in Poland so that a DNA test can be performed.