Couple Claim Hospital Lost Baby’s Remains
Wednesday, April 21, 1999
Oakland — Oakland couple has filed a lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente Hospital claiming that the HMO lost the body of their stillborn daughter.
The child, Malika Armstrong, was stillborn at Kaiser’s Hayward facility on November 23. Her parents, Elisaia Levingston and Joe Armstrong Jr., claim that while awaiting her autopsy results, the hospital informed them that it could not locate her body.
What happened to the body is a mystery. Attorneys allege that the hospital had the remains cremated against the parents’ wishes. Kaiser officials yesterday said the hospital doesn’t perform or authorize cremations and doesn’t know what happened. Despite a hospital investigation and an extensive search — even through hospital laundry — the baby’s body has never been found.
The suit alleges that after telling the parents the baby’s body had been misplaced, the hospital offered Levingston her placenta for burial instead and $15,000 for the loss of the child’s body. The suit claims that hospital officials told the parents at one point that the remains might have accidentally been placed with another body that was to be disposed of.