STATESVILLE, NC--A Statesville family was traumatized after being mailed their dead daughter's belongings from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center last week.
Included in the package from the hospital were their daughter's clothes – stained with blood and tissue from the bullet wound - from the day she was rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. Leslie Rogers died later that day.
Relatives say on April 30, Rogers was rushed to the hospital in Winston-Salem after being shot.
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Last week – three months after their daughter’s death – the Rogers family received a phone call from a hospital worker who wanted to know if the family wanted their daughter’s belongings.
“I asked them what they were,” says Leslie’s father, Mark Rogers. “They replied they don’t know. They asked me for an address that they can ship them to so I gave them my address. We received a box.”
Mr. Rogers says he was at work when the package arrived and his wife opened it.
“I opened it. The smell floored me,” Michele said. “I’ve never smelled nothing like that.”
She says she immediately took the box outside, went back inside to get gloves before opening the box.
Her daughter’s clothes – stained with blood and tissue from the bullet wound – were inside a regular plastic bag – not a biomedical bag. They say some other small items such as keys were also inside.
“I don’t understand. It was like a prank had been pulled,” Michele said. “Why would somebody send that to a parent so long after losing their child?”
“My wife calls me and starts crying,” Mark said. “They shipped me the bloody clothes from my daughter that they cut off of in the emergency room.”
Mark said he doesn’t understand why hospital staff did that. He wants to know if it’s standard procedure.
“I’m angry because no parent should ever receive their kids bloody clothes that they died in,” he said. “We’re still grieving over our child and it was a surprise to get a box that had her bloody clothes cut off her body.”
“I just want to know if this is normal to ship a grieving family the clothes that their daughter got killed in,” Mark said. “I think it was untasteful and wrong.”
The parents say they contacted the hospital but have yet to get an answer.
“If anything, policy should be changed, something should be done to where they know what they’re sending people, that they can make aware what’s been sent and the manner that they’re sending it in,” Michele said. “Nobody should have to go through that. No one.”
Kevin P. High, the Executive Vice President, Health System Affairs at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center provided WFMY News 2 this statement about what happened:
“I know I speak for all of us at Wake Forest Baptist when I say that we were saddened to learn that we had mistakenly returned soiled clothing in a package of belongings sent to the parents of a past patient. We deeply regret any concerns that this has caused and offer our sincere apologies to the family.
“It is always our wish to be sensitive to the needs of our patients’ families. We sometimes receive requests from family members to return the items that a loved one was wearing when they are brought to the Medical Center, or that might have sentimental value, regardless of their condition. It is always our intention to be kind and helpful in this regard.“While we have a policy in place that directs how patient belongings should be handled, our teams are reviewing it to determine how we can improve the existing process that meets the variety of wishes from our patients’ families while ensuring a safe transition of personal belongings.”