Texas mother fights for baby’s remains

A San Marcos, Texas family says they’re heartbroken after losing their baby. (Provided Photo/KXAN)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – A San Marcos family says they’re heartbroken after losing their baby.

They said what devastates them even more is how the hospital handled the situation.

Thirty-year-old Audrey Thornton looks through a box of the few things she has to remember her baby boy. “Those are his little footprints,” Thornton said. “This is his blanket I made.”

Thornton found out her baby, Karson, had no heart beat three weeks ago, 16 weeks into her pregnancy.

She had him at Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos, and said she’s been trying to find out what happened to his remains ever since.

“I just wanted to know what my options were so that my baby could be at peace,” said Thornton. “Going to bed every night not knowing that my baby is at peace is horrible.”

The family said they called the hospital several times looking for answers, and finally heard back on Wednesday, after KXAN started calling the hospital.

“Having to bug people to find out where my son is and what the next step was I think is the worst part,” said Thornton, as she wiped her tears.

“All of us at CTMC grieve with the Thornton’s regarding their loss. Our Chief Nurse and I met with the family last week to discuss their concerns and we have been finalizing funeral arrangements since. We’re working diligently to provide the family with a thoughtful and dignified resolution to a very difficult situation,” read a statement from the president and CEO of the hospital, Anthony Stahl.

KXAN pored through the Texas Department of Health Handbook on fetal registration and found the state does not recognize a fetus as “stillborn” until 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Before that, it’s considered a miscarriage. A spokesperson added, “Due to state guidelines, it took longer than expected. We were able to identify a provider earlier this week and have been in contact multiple times since to discuss their desires for next steps.”

The Thorntons said they were never told why there was a delay.

The family has experienced this pain before. Last September they lost another baby boy at 18 weeks.

Thornton delivered him at Seton in Kyle and said her experience there was much different. “The social worker came in and we were given a beautiful loss box,” said Thornton. “He was buried with other baby angels.”

She hopes her voice now helps another parent.

The hospital has the remains and will have them cremated in the next day or two.

CTMC is picking up the cremation bill and will also pay for a landscaper to expand an angel garden at the family’s home.

“I hope that nobody else has to go through what we went through and we’re still going through,” said Thornton.

The spokesperson at the hospital said the hospital is taking a very close look at its policy and will make sure this doesn’t happen again.

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