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'We have to grieve all over again' | Florida family waits weeks for physician's signature to cremate stillborn baby

A funeral home owner says there had to be "continuous follow-ups" with Baptist Medical Center to get his death certificate signed.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In critical condition, Felicity King fought for her life in Baptist Medical Center's downtown hospital. Ultimately, she lost her son who was stillborn at 34 weeks.

“We're just still grieving and trying to get through this, and trying to help my daughter get through this," Dwan Hall, the boy's grandmother explained.

Now, Dwan says her daughter is fighting for closure, needing her son’s remains to start the healing process.

“They're at the crematory ready for preparation, and he's been sitting there," Antonio Hall, the boy's grandfather said.

Antonio says his family signed over his grandson’s remains to Q. L. Douglas Funeral Home the day of his death: July 2.

However, the funeral home owner tells the First Coast News On Your Side team there had to be "continuous follow-ups" with Baptist Medical Center to get his death certificate signed by the necessary physician before his remains could be cremated.

Antonio had also been making calls of his own.

“It's frustrating because everybody was saying something different about it. 'Hey, we'll call you back', 'We're trying to look into this' or leaving messages," he explained. "And it was frustrating to try to get answers, to understand what was going on."

Almost three weeks later, the funeral home owner was finally able to track down the OB Hospitalist for their signature and plans to prepare the urn for the family as soon as possible.

“We have to grieve all over again, go through this all over again," Dwan said. "When we could have this could have just been handled a lot sooner.“

After the On Your Side team reached out to Baptist Health with questions Wednesday, an employee called the family to apologize.

It also responded back with the following statement:

"The loss of a child is heartbreaking, and we offer our sincerest condolences to all families who suffer this grief. When a death occurs, the funeral home creates a death certificate. The hospital is responsible for providing the attending physician’s name and phone number to the funeral home, which then contacts the physician for a signature. In this case, we did not provide the phone number in a timely manner. We sincerely apologize for the hospital’s delay in providing this information. 

"We have reached out to the family to personally apologize, and immediately began to review our processes to prevent this from happening again."

“Baptist hospital needs to have a better sense of urgency," Antonio said. “We just want to actually get our grandson, and [Felicity's] child, and be able to move forward and heal.“