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Stillborn Baby Delivered to Funeral Home Frozen in a Bucket, Lawsuit Says

The parents of a stillborn child are suing a hospital after they say it delivered the child's corpse to a funeral home frozen in an open bucket.

Maritza and Joel Lievanos sued Valley Baptist Health System over what the suit says is "the horrific experience of finding her son's body in a bucket." The hospital, in the Rio Grande Valley, has not yet responded to the suit.

The parents said hospital staff told them their child had died in the womb from a heart condition, and funeral arrangements needed to be made. The stillborn child was delivered in December 2011.

The suit, according to Courthouse News Service, said the parents "were able to spend some time with" the child -- a 15 inch, 3 lbs, 12.8 oz baby boy they named Mateo Lievanos -- before giving the body back to hospital staff.

And then:

Mateo's parents had scheduled a small service for their family and close friends on the morning of Monday, December 19, 2011. As soon as his mother was released from the hospital that day, she and her husband went to the funeral home. Upon arrival, Mrs. Lievanos had the horrific experience of finding her son's body in a bucket.

The hospital had shoved the baby in the bucket with his head between his legs in liquid and froze the baby before turning possession of the body over to the funeral home that morning. The funeral service was canceled, and the plaintiffs were forced to cremate baby Mateo.

The suit seeks unspecified punitive damages.

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