Hospital’s Attitude Adds to Couple’s Heartbreak
by Sarah Terzo
Lindsey and April Woods lost their daughter Remy to a miscarriage in the second trimester. Remy was diagnosed in utero with 45x/46xy, a rare disorder that can cause severe disabilities. April and Lindsey refused abortion.
April recalls a conversation with the doctors:
At one point I asked “What’s worst-case scenario here” because prior to speaking to them we did not know the actual condition, so we did not realize how serious it could be. The genetic counselor said, “It depends on what you consider worst-case” which is something that sticks with me because I thought the answer was obvious – not having our child survive – but still had to say it as they waited for an answer.
April and Lindsey were devastated to learn in a subsequent appointment that Remy’s heart had stopped beating. Lindsey had to be induced. The couple decided they wanted to bury Remy and hold a funeral.
Doctors dehumanized their daughter by calling her “tissue” repeatedly. April writes:
I heard the word tissue many times that day. When we said we wanted to bury Remy we were told that they had to send the tissue to the lab to confirm they took out what they said they did. Every time I asked about the policy, they kept referring to her as tissue despite me continuously saying “baby.” Every time I said baby in a sentence, they responded with the word tissue in its place.
The couple’s grief was made worse by the hospital’s attitude:
It made us disgusted that they could refer to our baby, who we just learned we lost a couple of hours prior, as tissue. Their care lacked basic human decency as they refused to acknowledge our loss of our child. We were crying and trying to wrap our minds around how we were going to tell our sons there was no longer a baby sibling in mommy’s belly, and to hear the hospital employees say tissue over and over again like we had not lost our hopes and dreams made us feel like they were almost judging us for wanting to bury our daughter. It made the worst day of our lives ever worse because in that moment, every time they said tissue, it felt like we were completely alone in our grief.
But the worst was yet to come.
While Lindsey was still asleep from anesthesia, April prepared to take Remy’s body to the funeral home. The hospital forced her to carry the remains of her child away in a bright orange biohazard bucket. April says:
A nurse approached me while I was in the waiting room. She looked like a deer in headlights and was doing her best to look me in the eye while she asked: Did anyone explain to you what exactly you’ll be taking home with you today? She told me that our baby was in a bucket. A bio-hazard bucket. I could not picture what they were about to hand me, but I didn’t want to walk down the hall with my dead child in a bucket that said BIOHAZARD and asked if there was anything else to put our baby in so I wasn’t carrying my dead baby in a bucket down their hall . . . It seemed so off – so horrid it seemed unreal that they would hand someone a bucket with their dead child and expect them to carry the bucket the entire distance of their long hallway that I really could not fully grasp the situation. She said she talked to a supervisor who said it had to be this way.
I asked to at least put the bucket in a bag, or something, because I couldn’t bear the thought of carrying a marked bucket down the hall.
The hospital gave April a Home Goods plastic bag, and April carried Remy to her car, in the bucket, with the plastic bag wrapped around it.
April, a newly bereaved parent, was forced to cope with the hospital’s refusal to acknowledge the humanity of her child. The hospital viewed Remy not as the precious, unique, and valuable human being she was, but as medical waste.
Because preborn children are so dehumanized in our society, where thousands of them die daily in abortion, we should not be surprised that hospital staff members consider them only medical waste and not people. This grieving couple had their pain greatly magnified by hospital staff.
The story illustrates how abortion can hurt even those who don’t choose it. The dehumanization of April and Lindsey’s baby may well be a result of the way our society views preborn babies, which is a result of legalized abortion. Staff members at the hospital dehumanized Remy because to them, she was just tissue, like the 3,000 preborn babies who are aborted daily.
They didn’t acknowledge Remy’s humanity, or the fact that she was a unique, precious human being – a human being who was greatly loved.
When April arrived at the funeral home, the staff there treated Remy’s body with respect and dignity. Remy was buried in Reidy Cemetery in Wallaceton, PA, and the Woods are now doing a GoFundMe to raise funds for a headstone.
We love you Remy, and I’m so, so sorry that I couldn’t stop this from happening to you. I can only hope that by sharing how you were treated we can change how others are treated.
We can hope that those who read this story will try to influence medical providers to be more sensitive, and that any medical workers who read this article will realize how hurtful their attitudes toward preborn babies can be to bereaved parents. By going public, April and Lindsey hope to raise awareness of the despicable way miscarried babies are treated. But in a culture that dehumanizes preborn babies on a massive scale, changing the way these babies are viewed by doctors and hospital workers will be difficult.
For our posts on similar topics, see:
When “Choice” Itself Hurts the Quality of Life
Will I be Treated the Same Way Now?
My heart goes out to Lindsey and April, I can’t imagine being in such intense grief and having to deal with the callousness of the medical facility. Every life is precious and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
Please consider suing the medical staff who inflicted this trauma on you. I can’t count how many times I have seen people post in comments online, and I’ve also heard firsthand at a bereavement group, that they have been mistreated by doctors and staff after a miscarriage or stillbirth. If parents don’t sue for the emotional damage, this kind of abuse will continue to harm many more grieving people into the future.
[…] her recent article “Hospital attitude adds to couple’s heartache,” Sarah Terzo highlights these themes. Lindsey and April Woods lost their daughter through […]