real life

"We can't fathom how this happened." Couple's devastation after baby mistakenly cremated.

Stella Pirko and Anthony Meyers had already lost their daughter, stillborn at 28 weeks. However, it was the events that followed that have prevented the couple from knowing what truly happened and added to their pain.

In October last year, Stella was forced to terminate her pregnancy due to their daughter, Krystal Rose’s enlarged bladder.

To find out what caused the condition, the Sydney couple had requested Liverpool Hospital to carry out an autopsy and genetic testing, Nine News reports.

Their request was never carried out, and a series of mistakes meant their daughter was cremated without an autopsy days later.

“We trusted them to do their jobs – to find out what happened to our baby. We cannot fathom how this happened,” Stella told Nine News reporter Gabriella Rogers.

Krystal’s parents had been relying on the results of the testing to understand why she had an enlarged bladder.

Stella and Anthony have no answers. (Image via Nine News.)

Without this answer, Anthony explained, the couple is wary of a second pregnancy.

"Now we're stuck five months after the baby has been delivered, we don't have answers," Anthony said.

"What is the chance if we fall pregnant again, this going to happen to us again?"

Krystal's bladder problem was detected during a scan halfway through Stella's pregnancy.

Stella was left traumatised. (Image via Nine News)

She told Nine News that the doctor had been incredibly blunt in telling her to terminate.

"I couldn't think, it didn't make sense. Why wouldn't you try to fix it and help?"

At 28 weeks, Krystal's bladder had grown further and began compromising her other organs, leaving the couple with no choice but to terminate.

Stella described delivering the already deceased infant as "horrific", however the hospital's director said correct procedures were followed.

"He (the doctor) grabs the umbilical cord and he wraps it around his wrist and he grabs and he pulls and he pulls so hard that my butt comes off the bed and it snaps," Stella said.

Krystal was not going to survive. (Image via Nine News.)

Sadly, their trauma did not end that night.

Finding out what caused Krystal's condition was not going to bring their daughter back, but it may have provided the couple with some level of comfort.

The couple had been told they would be informed when the autopsy report was ready so they could go back to the hospital to discuss the findings and proceed with their daughter's cremation at a funeral home.

Instead, the baby was left in the mortuary for nine days, before being mistakenly released to the funeral home for cremation.

"The baby was down in the storage room, no one cared, no one did anything," Anthony said.

The engaged couple were not told this and instead left waiting in vain for weeks.

Then, almost a month after Krystal was born, Stella received a call from the Feto-Maternal Unit consultant after he became aware that the post-mortem was not performed. It was news that left the woman distraught and speechless.

What went wrong?

Nine News reports the position of full-time mortuary technician was scrapped three months before the incident happened.

The hospital has apologised for the mistake and offered support to the couple.

General manager Robynne Cooke said an investigation led to safeguards being put in place and hiring a new full-time mortuary technician.

Listen: The Well discuss the stages of grief.

But for Anthony and Stella, it's not enough.

"For us, an apology is not going to bring our baby back, an apology is not going to give us answers," Anthony said.

Stella said she was seeing a psychologist for post-traumatic stress fears she may not be able to fall pregnant again.

"It has impacted our lives, in a dramatic and horrific way," Stella said.