• Lawsuit: Wellstar Kennestone Medical Center mishandled remains of stillborn babies

    By: Jim Strickland


    MARIETTA, Ga. - Wellstar Kennestone Medical Center is under fire for allegedly mishandling the remains of stillborn babies.

    The charge is contained in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Cobb County and obtained by Channel 2 investigative reporter Jim Strickland.

    "It just shocks the conscience and it enrages me as a person," said attorney Kevin Adamson.

    Adamson said his client's stillbirth delivery happened at Kennestone in January 2012.

    A boy approximately 18 weeks in gestation was found to be unviable during an examination and later delivered. The parents named him Jordan.

    Adamson said the heartbreak was only the beginning.

    "This situation is just absolutely gruesome," he said.

    The lawsuit said the family ultimately told Kennestone they wanted a private cremation for Jordan, but that they were told his remains were taken to Medford-Peden Funeral Home for a mass cremation with other stillborn infants.

    The suit said a Kennestone employee told the family his ashes were buried under a tree at the funeral home.

    "That's a bunch of bull. We don't have any trees but the one out front. We don't bury, you can't. We know the law," funeral home owner Pete Peden told Strickland. "I've been in this too long. We go by the book."

    The lawsuit said five weeks later the hospital changed its story. An employee allegedly called with the news saying: "Baby Jordan's remains were likely thrown away as biological waste."

    They remain missing to this day.

    Two earlier suits also accused Wellstar hospitals of cremations against the parents' wishes.

    "It wasn't fixed after the first time, they didn't fix it after the second time and here we are again," said Adamson.

    When asked for reaction from the hospital, WellStar spokeswoman Michelle Robinson sent a statement saying, "The care of our patients and their family members is of the upmost importance. We received the lawsuit late this afternoon and are reviewing the allegations. Since this is pending litigation, we cannot provide further comment."

    The hospital has 30 days to file an answer to the complaint.

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