- Daniel Alejandro Jaramillo said he found a large rat instead of his daughter’s remains in the morgue
- The hospital apologized and launched an investigation in light of the incident
- The family is demanding answers and for the baby’s body to be returned
A Colombian couple has claimed a hospital in the country’s Valle del Cauca department had replaced the body of their dead newborn with the remains of a large rat.
Daniel Alejandro Jaramillo said he was preparing for his child’s Christian funeral when he inspected her remains in the morgue and found the rodent instead, local newspaper El Tiempo reported.
“We proceeded to open (the coffin) and we found a rather large rat, the size of an opossum, and some latex gloves,” the father said.
Doctors at Tomás Uribe Uribe Hospital in the city of Tuluá informed Jaramillo and his partner, Jari Daniela Velez, on May 13 that the baby was suffering from a heart problem.
“Unfortunately, the doctor who evaluated her told me that she had no heart rate or heartbeat, so she was left in the hospital overnight,” Jaramillo recalled.
The infant, who was named Emily Samara, would later die during childbirth on May 15 despite doctors’ efforts to save her.
Jaramillo said his daughter’s remains had already been taken to the morgue before he was able to see them completely. He went to process her death and checked the body with a morgue official when they made the discovery.
In response to the claims, Tomás Uribe Uribe Hospital said it “deeply regrets” the fiasco and that it would conduct an internal investigation and provide the findings to authorities.
“For what happened, we apologize and make ourselves available for whatever you require as a family,” the hospital said in a statement released on May 18.
Majo Velez, Jari’s cousin, announced her intentions to sue the hospital for the blunder.
“They handed us a dead rat; I demand that they give us the girl,” Velez said in a Facebook post.
Velez explained in a later statement, “[W]e demand that the hospital give us answers because so far they have not yet delivered the body of the baby.” She also asked for the public to share the incident so that they can “get to the truth.”