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New York City Medical Examiner’s Office Admits Mixing Up Remains Of 2 Stillborn Babies

Despondent Justyna And Rafal Sliwa Now Suing The City For $5 Million
Justyna and Rafal Sliwa (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

Justyna and Rafal Sliwa (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A horrible medical mix-up has left a Brooklyn family mourning the death of the wrong baby.

And they still don’t know where their child’s body is, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported Thursday.

Justyna Sliwa still gets emotional when talking about the death of her unborn baby, Angel.

Sliwa was forced to deliver her stillborn baby at just 5 months pregnant.

“It’s heartbreaking. You just can’t explain the way I feel, that we feel. It’s horrible,” Sliwa said.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

It’s heartbreak Sliwa and her husband, Rafal, endured together. They held religious memorial services for baby Angel — both in Brooklyn, on June 16, and their native Poland, where Angel was buried during a small ceremony on June 19.

“I want my baby to be put to peace,” Sliwa said.

However, Sliwa said that less than two weeks later she got a voice mail from an attorney with the Medical Examiner’s Office that left her mystified.

angel sliwa grave New York City Medical Examiners Office Admits Mixing Up Remains Of 2 Stillborn Babies

Angel Sliwa’s grave in Poland (credit: Handout via Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

Sliwa said her repeated phone calls weren’t returned.

Only when she and her husband went to the Medical Examiner’s office in person were they told the truth about what happened to their baby.

“He said that he’s 100 percent sure that my child is still here and we buried the wrong one, but how can you believe him after he made a mistake like this?” Sliwa said.

The Sliwas are now suing the city for $5 million, but insist money isn’t the focus here; changing what they call a culture of carelessness is.

“There is a complete dysfunction at that office in terms of how they treat people and how they let these things happen,” attorney Susan Karten said.

In a statement, Ellen Borakove, a spokesperson for the medical examiner, said of the incident: “This was a tragic mistake. As soon as it was realized, we notified both families. We are doing all we can to make it right.”

But the Sliwas said they still haven’t been told their baby’s gender, or given a copy of the footprints they requested.

They’ve been told their baby is at the Medical Examiner’s office, but said they don’t know what to believe anymore.

The Sliwas have submitted DNA samples, but said they won’t be convinced the baby is theirs until they conduct their own independent DNA tests.

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