SPRINGFIELD — A Missouri couple is alleging in a lawsuit that a hospital was negligent when it lost the remains of their stillborn son, causing them anguish and depriving them of a proper burial.
Brianna and Kyle Dudley filed suit Friday in Greene County Circuit Court against Cox South Hospital in Springfield. Their baby, Lucas Dudley, was stillborn in early November, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
The Dudleys agreed to have an autopsy and genetic analysis performed to learn as much as possible about what went wrong and why. But when they were called into Cox South a week later expecting results, hospital representatives told them that their baby's remains were missing.
It's unclear what exactly happened.
The Dudleys told the News-Leader in an interview earlier this month that Cox representatives showed them video footage of a company contractor in a hoodie taking what Cox believed to be their son's remains out of the hospital's morgue.
The lawsuit says that while Cox has refused to supply evidence to the Dudleys, they know and believe their son's remains were "either thrown into a biological waste bin by a Cox employee or allegedly stolen by a Cox contractor."
The lawsuit also criticizes the hospital for failing to provide "full and complete information as why and how Lucas's remains were lost, stolen or disposed of."
CoxHealth spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell said in an emailed statement Friday that the hospital hopes an ongoing police investigation will find answers. She said the hospital will continue limiting public comments on the matter to avoid undermining it.
"We understand and appreciate their right to file a lawsuit, and understand they want answers," she continued. "We also want to help bring closure to this family."
Police spokeswoman Jasmine Bailey said she had no new information she could share publicly about the investigation.
The Dudleys' suit seeks "fair and reasonable damages" as well as punitive damages to "punish and deter" the hospital from repeating its behavior.