Friday, January 08, 2010

Grave Mistake



From Crimesider comes this gruesome story about a New Mexico family that was given a bag containing their mother's brain by a funeral home.

Suit: Funeral Homes Sent Mother's Brain to Family in a Bag

It does sound like something out of a Stephen King book, but does it rise to the level of a law suit?

21 Comments:

At January 08, 2010 4:15 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

There is no excuse for a mistake such as this one!

 
At January 08, 2010 5:28 PM, Blogger Ananda girl said...

This is so horrible that even Stephen King wouldn't write it!

 
At January 08, 2010 5:48 PM, Blogger cube said...

Always On Watch: You're right. There is no excuse, but have you noticed that mistakes have become commonplace nowadays ... banks, stores, airports, schools... everywhere you look?

 
At January 08, 2010 5:48 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Here's the problem: neither funeral home wants to accept responsibility. If they refuse, they deserve to be sued. I'm not litigous, but when grief is involved, someone must apologize.

 
At January 08, 2010 5:49 PM, Blogger cube said...

Ananda Girl: This is horrible, but SK would definitely write it and worse.

 
At January 08, 2010 7:28 PM, Blogger dmarks said...

I hate frivolous lawsuits a lot, but I don't think this one is frivolous at all.

And last time I knew, both funeral homes involved are denying it (each blaming the other), meaning that at least one of them is lying.

Watchie is right: there's no excuse. I'd like to see the guilty company/companies wiped out of business, with one or two jail terms involved.

This type of thing belongs in a Marty Feldman bit in "Young Frankenstein", not in something so sensitive as a real funeral.

 
At January 08, 2010 9:32 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

I am not a lawsuit happy person either (being an RN, lawyers are sort of our natural enemy) but this does rise to the level of gross negligence. There are certain things that you are not allowed to make a mistake on. Sending a loved one's brains home with the family seems to be one of those things IMHO.

 
At January 09, 2010 1:17 AM, Blogger Jen said...

correction: litigious

 
At January 09, 2010 7:52 AM, Blogger dmarks said...

There's a pretty clear common-sense difference between valid lawsuits and frivolous ones, and it all depends on who is negligent.

If you spill hot coffee on your own lap, you are negligent, and not the company who sold you the coffee you asked for.

If a funeral home gives you a brain, the funeral home is negligent, quite clearly.

The same logic should be applied to the frivolous lawsuits against auto companies when a car wrecks causin injurty because the driver was drunk or speeding.

Finally, using the same logic, Sen. John Edwards would be a pauper. He got a lot of money from frivolous lawsuits against OB-GYNs over birth defects. These were genetic birth defects, which were present in the child at conception. No way could an OB-GYN be to blame.

 
At January 09, 2010 12:41 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

My God, how horrific!

 
At January 09, 2010 1:25 PM, Blogger cube said...

Jen: If one or both of these funeral homes were to apologize and pay for the process of reinterring the brain, would you let them off the lawsuit hook?

dmarks: I understand that this was an inexcusable mistake by one or both funeral homes, but how were these people damaged to the point of requiring monetary recompense beyond that of making the situation whole again, i.e., reinterring the brain.

 
At January 09, 2010 1:30 PM, Blogger cube said...

Chuck: Have we become such a litigious society that we must make these people whole beyond
the expense of reinterring the brain?

I mean, sure it was a jarring experience for them, but how are they damaged that they require copious amounts of money thrown their way?

 
At January 09, 2010 3:09 PM, Blogger cube said...

dmarks: You make some good points, but like I asked Chuck, how are these people damaged beyond the cost of reinterring the brain? Sure, it was a jarring experience, but where is the lasting damage?

 
At January 09, 2010 4:12 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

Cube, I agree that we are overly lawsuit happy in the US.

A lawsuit wouldn't make them whole but I feel they deserve a little compensation.

Also, lawsuits are punitive and I see this as a circumstance in whih the funeral home or homes should be penalized for the level of malpractice they exhibited. Who should then get the money from the penalty, a governmental entity which suffered no harm or the family that was harmed?

 
At January 09, 2010 4:21 PM, Blogger cube said...

Chuck: I do see your point. These funeral homes have shown negligence, but my argument is why should they be forced to give up millions for a mistake that caused such little lasting damage.

I say if they were to pay for the reinterrment of the brain and maybe toss in the funeral charge it should be enough. OK, I will give you some probationary status on the funeral homes to make sure they don't make this mistake again, but that should be enough retribution.

 
At January 09, 2010 7:08 PM, Blogger Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

Dmarks beat me to it: Young Frankenstein.

Seriously, what happened to the New Mexico family is abominable.

 
At January 10, 2010 2:34 PM, Blogger dmarks said...

OK, then how about something creative. A scarlet letter for them; a big sign on the lawn "We Lose Brains".

 
At January 10, 2010 2:35 PM, Blogger dmarks said...

Oh wait. I think Cube has a good point on lasting damage. But that is without the funeral homes lying about it. There's even less excuse for that.

 
At January 10, 2010 4:22 PM, Blogger cube said...

dmarks: Only one funeral home is lying. Even the one that is not lying should not be subject to millions of dollars worth of damages. I don't think the family was damaged beyond the price of the reinterrment and perhaps the funeral. OK, they were shocked, but how were they damaged?

 
At January 12, 2010 4:00 PM, Blogger Jen said...

I don't think this is a case for millions. I think this is a case for a public apology. If I were the family, I'd want the brain incinerated. That's just me. I'd want the guilty party to admit the wrong and put guidelines in place to prevent it happening in the future.

Money gained on the death of a loved one would burn my conscious.

 
At January 12, 2010 4:00 PM, Blogger Jen said...

HA! I kinda made a little funny there.....

 

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