“Very frustrating:” Mother says two months after she delivered a stillborn baby, her daughter remains in a mortuary

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INDIANAPOLIS (WITI) -- An Indiana mother who delivered a stillborn baby says two months later, her daughter is still at a mortuary.

At 19 weeks into her pregnancy, 32-year-old Nicole Bonds delivered a stillborn baby girl.

“It was very hard. It was so difficult for me,” Bonds told FOX6's sister station FOX59 in Indiana.

Bonds made plans to have her daughter, Eva Lynn, cremated -- just like the son she lost not long ago. But that was in January. Two months later, Eva Lynn is still at a mortuary.

“My baby needs to rest. There’s no way she should be sitting in the freezer. It’s not fair to anyone," Bonds said.

FOX59 has learned Bonds' pain is shared by countless families across Indiana. In the 800 some funerals a year put on by Leppert Mortuary & Crematory Services and Crown Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery, about 30%-40% have faced a death certificate delay.

“We’re seeing two-month to three-month delays in getting the death certificate signed. And that should be done within a seven-day period,” Mike Moffitt, Director of Funeral Operations for Leppert Mortuary and Crown Hill said. “It’s usually a doctor’s delay.”

Moffitt blames physicians and the Indiana Death Registration System. It was created in 2009 to make it easy for doctors to sign death certificates. However, Moffitt said, it’s only creating delays.

“Doctors could be on vacation for an extended period of time, or they’re not familiar with the patient’s medical history,” Moffitt explained.

Sometimes, doctors just don’t want their name associated with the death out of fear there may be malpractice lawsuit down the road.

Moffitt says something needs to change.

“We’re at (the doctors') mercy, just like the families. It’s very frustrating. We can’t conduct our business without the death certificate," Moffitt said.

A spokesman for the hospital where Eva Lynn was delivered told FOX59 the responsibility of signing the death certificate for Eva Lynn falls on the physicians who delivered her. That doctor is not a hospital employee.

Bond said a fourth doctor is now working with Leppert Mortuary. She hopes this one will give her the signature she needs to give her child peace.

“As a parent, you’re supposed to protect your child. Even though I lost my child, it’s my duty to make sure she’s laid to rest," Bond said.

1 Comment

  • Sarah Chapman

    Why is the death certificate not being signed by the MD at the times he announces time of death? After a patient passes there are a ton of forms to complete before the body can even go to security. One more form seems simple….

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