The hospital’s attitude added to their grief over the loss of their child.
By Sarah Terzo
Lindsey and April Woods lost their daughter Remy to a miscarriage in the second trimester. Remy was diagnosed in utero with 45x/46xy, a rare disorder that can cause severe disabilities. April and Lindsey refused abortion.
Counselor Thinks Death is Better Than Life With a Disability
April recalls a conversation with the doctors when the couple were told about Remy’s condition:
At one point I asked “What’s worst-case scenario here” because prior to speaking to them we did not know the actual condition, so we did not realize how serious it could be.
The genetic counselor said, “It depends on what you consider worst-case” which is something that sticks with me because I thought the answer was obvious – not having our child survive – but still had to say it as they waited for an answer.
This was a genetic counselor who regularly tells expectant moms and couples that their child has a health problem or disability. They are the ones “counseling” these parents on whether to abort or give their child a chance at life.
This “counselor” feels that death is worse than life with a disability. How fair and impartial is he/she being with the couples, who are reeling from the shock of finding out their child will be disabled? How will he/she present the facts of the condition, what picture will he/she paint of life with a disabled child?
Many of these couples are in a state of shock and don’t know what to do. They often follow the advice of medical professionals in this situation. The “counselor’s” ableist attitude makes me question what he/she is telling expectant parents. Genetic counselors and doctors have an enormous influence on whether people abort disabled children.
How can a person who thinks it’s better to be dead than disabled support parents who want to carry to term?
Dehumanizing the Baby and Calling her “Tissue”
April and Lindsey were devastated to learn in a subsequent appointment that Remy’s heart had stopped beating. Lindsey had to be induced. The couple decided they wanted to bury Remy and hold a funeral.
Doctors dehumanized their daughter by calling her “tissue” repeatedly. April writes:
I heard the word tissue many times that day. When we said we wanted to bury Remy we were told that they had to send the tissue to the lab to confirm they took out what they said they did.
Every time I asked about the policy, they kept referring to her as tissue despite me continuously saying “baby.” Every time I said baby in a sentence, they responded with the word tissue in its place.
The couple’s grief was made worse by the hospital’s attitude:
It made us disgusted that they could refer to our baby, who we just learned we lost a couple of hours prior, as tissue. Their care lacked basic human decency as they refused to acknowledge our loss of our child.
We were crying and trying to wrap our minds around how we were going to tell our sons there was no longer a baby sibling in mommy’s belly, and to hear the hospital employees say tissue over and over again like we had not lost our hopes and dreams made us feel like they were almost judging us for wanting to bury our daughter.
It made the worst day of our lives ever worse because in that moment, every time they said tissue, it felt like we were completely alone in our grief.
But the worst was yet to come.
Forced to Carry Remy Home in a Biohazard Bucket
While Lindsey was still asleep from anesthesia, April prepared to take Remy’s body to the funeral home. The hospital forced her to carry the remains of her child away in a bright orange biohazard bucket. April says:
A nurse approached me while I was in the waiting room. She looked like a deer in headlights and was doing her best to look me in the eye while she asked: Did anyone explain to you what exactly you’ll be taking home with you today?
She told me that our baby was in a bucket. A bio-hazard bucket. I could not picture what they were about to hand me, but I didn’t want to walk down the hall with my dead child in a bucket that said BIOHAZARD and asked if there was anything else to put our baby in so I wasn’t carrying my dead baby in a bucket down their hall . . .
It seemed so off – so horrid it seemed unreal that they would hand someone a bucket with their dead child and expect them to carry the bucket the entire distance of their long hallway that I really could not fully grasp the situation. She said she talked to a supervisor who said it had to be this way.
I asked to at least put the bucket in a bag, or something, because I couldn’t bear the thought of carrying a marked bucket down the hall.
The hospital gave April a Home Goods plastic bag, and April carried Remy to her car, in the bucket, with the plastic bag wrapped around it.
April, a newly bereaved parent, was forced to cope with the hospital’s refusal to acknowledge the humanity of her child. The hospital viewed Remy not as the precious, unique, and valuable human being she was, but as medical waste.
How Abortion Leads to Dehumanization that Hurts Grieving Parents
Because preborn children are so dehumanized in our society, where thousands of them die daily in abortion, we should not be surprised that hospital staff members consider them only medical waste and not people. This grieving couple had their pain greatly magnified by hospital staff.
The story illustrates how abortion can hurt even those who don’t choose it. The dehumanization of April and Lindsey’s baby may well be a result of the way our society views preborn babies, which is a result of legalized abortion. Staff members at the hospital dehumanized Remy because, to them, she was just tissue, like the 3,000 preborn babies who are aborted daily.
They didn’t acknowledge Remy’s humanity or the fact that she was a unique, precious human being – a human being who was greatly loved.
The Hospital Sent the Couple a Huge Bill for Dehumanizing Their Daughter
The hospital sent the grieving parents a bill for $4,100 that insurance refused to pay. (And then additional costs later).
The couple has a GoFundMe to try to cover the costs of the ‘medical care’ they and their daughter received. The GoFundMe was originally set up to help them afford a headstone for Remy, but then they were hit with this massive bill.
The fact that insurance won’t cover a delivery when the child is deceased is bad enough. The fact that the hospital demanded over $4000 for the appalling “care” they gave is even worse.
If you have the funds, please donate, or share the GoFundMe on social media.
Finally Finding Dignity
When April arrived at the funeral home, the staff there treated Remy’s body with respect and dignity. Remy was buried in Reidy Cemetery in Wallaceton, PA.
We love you Remy, and I’m so, so sorry that I couldn’t stop this from happening to you. I can only hope that by sharing how you were treated we can change how others are treated.
I hope that those who read this story will try to influence medical providers to be more sensitive and that any medical workers who read this article will realize how hurtful their attitudes toward preborn babies can be to bereaved parents.
By going public, April and Lindsey hope to raise awareness of the despicable way miscarried babies are treated. But in a culture that dehumanizes preborn babies on a massive scale, changing the way these babies are viewed by doctors and hospital workers will be difficult.
Below is the temporary marker that the couple put for Remy. They would later add a headstone.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Sarah’s substack account and is reposted with permission.