OAK LAWN, Ill. —The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Tuesday it is investigating Advocate Christ Medical Center and its role in the Marlen Ochoa-Lopez case.
The department did not go into further detail.
Also on Tuesday, relatives of Ochoa-Lopez arrived from Mexico at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Parents, grandparents and a great-grandmother arrived at theairport and spoke to the media around 9:30 p.m.
Ochoa-Lopez’s relatives were rushed to Chicago on expedited 20-day visas.
They planned to gather at a church upon arriving in the city. They hope to pray for the baby, Yovani Lopez, in the hospital as soon as tomorrow.
Questions Arise Over Hospital's Involvent
Earlier Tuesday, Cook County Sheriff's Department said it is waiting to hear from the Department of Children and Family Services on whether or not the hospital handled the arrival of Ochoa-Lopez's baby boy properly.
Prosecutors said the baby was cut out of Ochoa-Lopez after she was strangled to death. Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter, Desiree, 24, are charged with murder. Figueroa is accused of killing Ochoa-Lopez and removing her full-term baby from her womb.
Yovani was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn because he wasn't breathing. He remains on life support, but nothing came of Figueroa who brought him in and claimed he was hers. Cook County prosecutors said in court last week, that hospital officials examined her and realized she had no signs of being pregnant or having recently given birth. But authorities were not notified.
The Department of Children and Family Services was not contacted by hospital staff until May 9, which was two and a half weeks later.
"The sheriff’s office will consult with DCFS on whether the circumstances of this case required DCFS be notified. If DCFS says they should have been notified, the sheriff’s office will conduct an investigation into what happened," according to a statement.
“We must hold them accountable too for protocols and procedures," said family spokesperson Julie Contreras. "Something that the family is not only thinking about themselves, they’re thinking about the future about what could happen to another mother in Marlen’s situation.”
For now, Yovani shows no brain activity, but he did open his eyes for the first time as his father held him on Monday.
Christ Hospital is not commenting on their actions surrounding baby Yovani, citing privacy laws.
The hospital released a statement Monday that said:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ochoa-Lopez family. Our top priority is to provide the safest and highest quality care for the patients and communities we serve. Out of respect for patient privacy and in compliance with federal and state regulations, we are unable to provide comment. We continue to cooperate with local authorities.
Failure to report child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor.