Stop Congratulating Me On My Dead Baby - An Open Letter to the U.S Healthcare System



Dear U.S. "healthcare" system,

My son Onyx passed away on August 30, 2018. After arriving home from the hospital I received some items in the mail - baby product coupons, baby care brochures, diaper samples. Why do hospitals send baby gifts to families who have just lost their baby? I'm sure it's an automated system of some sort but WHY? Why isn't there a policy in place to respect grieving parents? My baby died IN YOUR HOSPITAL. If someone can read through the paperwork enough to send me a bill, surely someone can read through it enough to know that my baby died. Stop sending me letters congratulating me on my new baby.

You can do better.


A month after Onyx passed away, I received a phone call from the hospital billing department telling me that I failed to sign my baby up for insurance within 30 days. I told the person that my baby died and they responded with "you had 30 days, why didn't you plan ahead?". I explained that I had no idea that my son would be born prematurely and die. That phone call was exhausting. I was aware of the 30-day insurance rule before Onyx was born but that was the last thing on my mind after he died. And honestly, I had no idea the rule applied to babies who die without receiving any medical care. No one told us to get Onyx insurance. Why are grieving parents just expected to know that their dead baby needs insurance?

And why are we expected to pay over $1000 for nothing? Nothing was done to save our baby - NOTHING. He was placed on my chest to die while everyone just watched (Onyx was born a few weeks shy of "viability"). Does "comfort care" really cost $1,705? He didn't receive any shots, he didn't go to the nursery, so I'm really confused about what his hospital bill could possibly consist of. I left the hospital with a bereavement box, not my baby. Is that box worth $1,705?

You can do better.

Specific policies need to be put in place so that grieving parents don't have to continuously tell people that their baby died. I should not have to hear "congratulations" at my post-partum appointment and sit in the waiting room for 20 minutes, surrounded by dozens of pregnant people and newborn babies. I am tired of seeing the pity on nurses faces every time I have to explain that "no, my baby is not doing okay. He's dead." I am seriously at the point where I am considering wearing a "MY BABY DIED" shirt to every medical appointment.

You can do better.


Bereavement training needs to be a priority for all medical professionals who come in contact with grieving parents. Stop referring to my baby as a "fetal demise". Stop dismissing my experience solely because you "see this stuff every day". Don't get me wrong - I have had my share of amazing nurses, but it's because of my experiences with those amazing nurses that I know other medical professionals can be held to a higher standard.

U.S. "healthcare" system, you need to do better.




4 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. My wife and I lost our daughter, Hannah, right after she was born and our experience was very similar. Once again, thank you so much for sharing. You're not alone.

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    1. A Rainbow From OnyxOctober 22, 2018 at 11:03 AM

      Hi Jonathan - Thank you so much for supporting me on this journey <3

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  2. I lost my son, Doby, in March 2015. My now ex husband wanted no part of any of the process. The nurses I had, were those you spoke of. Only they were amazing. My son was only 17 weeks when I had him, but they treated us as though he was full term. It wasn’t until about a month afterwards that I, too, began receiving items. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. A Rainbow From OnyxOctober 22, 2018 at 9:43 PM

      I’m so sorry you didn’t have his support �� There are definitely some amazing nurses out there. Thank you for sharing your story with me - sending you love ��

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