Family fights to keep baby from mass cremation at Detroit hospital

Oxford couple fights to keep stillborn baby's ashes separate from others at St. Johns Hospital in Detroit

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter


The heartbreak of losing their daughter when she was stillborn at 5 months was so hard for the Halik family.

She was born Sept. 26 and her mother Angela and father Paul decided to name her Haley. St. John Hospital in Detroit told the Halik's there were several options about what to do next -- they could call a funeral home and have her buried or cremated or use the funeral home the hospital uses at no cost. The Halik's opted to do the latter and were told Haley's ashes would arrive in 2 to 4 weeks.

Four weeks passed and Angela Halik called the funeral home.

"They told me that they hadn't received any babies yet and to call back in another four weeks," she said.

Halik didn't understand what was happening. Then, 8 weeks went by, and then 12. She called again and again, finally demanding to know what was going on.

"The lady at the funeral home told me that once there are 15 dead babies they make one mass trip to the hospital, pick them up and do a mass cremation," Halik said.

Angela Halik was horrified. She called Lynch and Sons Funeral Home in Oxford and told them what was happening and asked if they could help. Lynch went to get Haley the next morning from St. John Hospital. Finally, Haley was cremated and presented to her family.

We spoke with corporate at St. John and they told us they were not aware of this issue and would look into it immediately. Halik, for her part, has nothing but good things to say about the treatment she received in the birthing center at St. John. However, she can't understand why after the pain of losing a baby it would be compounded with a total runaround in trying to get her daughter's ashes home.

If she had continued waiting on the hospital and the funeral home it uses she wonders if she would have even gotten her daughter's actual ashes.

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