One million settlement for fetuses-in-a-jar lawsuit

If you are like me, then a million dollar settlement over fetuses-in-a-jar makes you think of George W. Bush’s mom (Barbara) traumatizing a young W with a fetus in a jar.  Or you might be reminded of that Million Dollar Baby movie where Hilary Swank plays a boxer who dies and had life insurance.  Neither of these things have anything at all to do with this case.

WaPo reports

An Ohio hospital reached a proposed lawsuit settlement of about $1 million with women who said they were emotionally distressed to learn a former employee had stuffed their miscarried or stillborn fetuses into jars for years — citing her religious beliefs — and kept them in hospital storage, instead of medically disposing of them.

Apparently, a histologist working in the hospital morgue couldn’t stomach disposing of fetuses according to hospital policy, which at the time called for miscarried or stillborn fetuses to be incinerated or placed in a tissue grinder.  So for nearly ten years, she stuffed 88 fetuses into three jars.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in 1997, shortly after the women and their families learned about the technician’s practices from media reports. The lawsuit originally contended the hospital and the technician violated Ohio statutes and common law regarding the handling of bodies and fetuses. Ultimately, it focused on the hospital’s alleged infliction of emotional stress on the women.

I haven’t had a chance to read anything other than news reports on this case.  But it is hard to believe that the hospital and the families have been litigating this for more than 15 years.  That is a long time to litigate a case where the facts don’t appear to be disputed.

Bonus Book Recommendation:

This lawsuit also made me think of the novel Geek Love.  It’s the story of a carnival family who intentionally created their own fantastic freaks by ingesting all types of chemicals and toxins.  On display and part of their show are glass jars where they keep all the children that did not survive the experiments.  Geek Love is a great book.


~ by siouxsielaw on May 26, 2012.

4 Responses to “One million settlement for fetuses-in-a-jar lawsuit”

  1. I can’t believe the hospital did not know about this employee’s fetus collection. It is weird that someone could object to disposing of fetuses, but cramming them in jars was my ok with her God.

  2. OMG…. 88 jars I can possibly get behind. 88 fetuses and three jars? nope.

    OK, now I wanna read Geek Love!

  3. This is the kind of nonsense that make healthcare so expensive.
    I would thnk someone would be more traumatized to find out their miscarried or especially a stillborn child went into a tissue grinder. If it were such a huge issue that the remains be buried, it should have been addressed at the time.

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