A woman is suing a Florida hospital, saying an employee flushed the remains of her miscarried child down the toilet.
Linda Gomez filed a suit last week in Palm Beach County court against Wellington Regional Medical Center, seeking unspecified damages for emotional trauma.
Her attorney, Kennan Dandar, said Tuesday she went to the hospital's emergency room in July 2014 because she was bleeding 19 weeks into her pregnancy.
While waiting for a doctor, Gomez went into the bathroom and miscarried, Dandar said. Gomez cut the umbilical cord with her fingernails after being unable to summon help, he said.
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
He said an unidentified worker eventually heard her screams, entered the bathroom and flushed the toilet as Gomez watched, screaming, "No, no, no, my baby.'' At 19 weeks, an average fetus weighs between 6.5 to 8 ounces, is 6 to 7 inches long and has limbs that are proportional to the body.
"She saw the face of her child. It is what she remembers in her nightmares,'' Dandar said.
The employee then told Gomez to return to the waiting room, according to Dandar. He said the employee didn't act in a panic, but was "calm, cool and collected.''
Dandar said Gomez and her family immediately asked hospital officials to retrieve the baby from its sewage collection system so she could give the child a Christian burial, but they refused. He said his client was 17 or 18 at the time and married.
"It was very callous how [the hospital] approached this,'' he said.
He said the miscarriage and its aftermath sank Gomez's husband into a deep depression and he died a year later in a traffic accident.
Jay Cohen, the hospital's attorney, said in a statement he could not comment specifically on Gomez or her case because of federal privacy laws, but said the hospital "intends to defend itself vigorously.''
"We are confident that the true facts of this situation will come out,'' he wrote.