A Brooklyn couple, already reeling from the loss of their stillborn baby, had their grief compounded after the New York City Medical Examiner's office gave them the wrong infant.
Justyna and Rafal Sliwa buried the baby in Poland, where the couple is originally from, but now the wrong child needs to be exhumed, the New York Post reported.
"Words can't express how I feel, to be honest," Justyna Sliwa, 22, told the paper. "It's devastating. Losing a child and then finding this out -- it's horrible."
A memorial service for the wrong stillborn baby was held in Brooklyn back on June 16, and the child was buried in Lomza, Poland, during a June 19 funeral service, NBC New York reported.
The city medical examiner's office has issued a mea culpa following the incident. Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the medical examiner, called the situation a "tragic, unfortunate error we have to make right.
"The city will be taking all steps we can to make sure the correct baby is buried in the correct place," she told the Post.
An investigation into how the wrong stillborn baby was buried is underway, and Borakove said the Sliwa's baby and the other child "have strikingly similar names."
Borakove told the Post it informed the Sliwas and the other family about the mix-up "as soon as the error was discovered." The spokeswoman did not identify the other family involved in the mistake.
The Sliwas found out their baby was dead when Justyna, who was five months pregnant, received a prenatal exam at Woodhull Hospital on May 29. During the exam, a heartbeat could not be found, and the baby was declared dead.
The Sliwas have hired lawyer Susan Karten, who filed a $5 million notice of claim against the city -- a preliminary step before filing a lawsuit.
Karten told the Post she wants an independent investigation into how the Sliwas were given the wrong stillborn baby to bury and how the medical examiner's office messed up.
"There have to be changes," Karten told the Post. "It's a despicable situation."
All that matters to Justyna Sliwa is that she has the correct baby and "to get my baby home where it's supposed to be, and [the wrong stillborn] baby home with its parents. It's heartbreaking. It kills."