Swapped babies in Australian hospital

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Confused baby in Australian clinic

After the confusion of babies in an Australian clinic, those responsible try to explain. A number of security measures are supposed to prevent the accidental confusion of infants in hospitals, but human error has resulted in two mothers breastfeeding a strange baby for more than eight hours, a spokesman for the clinic in the small town of Geelong west of Melbourne reported.

In the Australian hospital, the babies were exchanged by two mothers and the women then nursed strange children for hours. The two Australian mothers experienced what thousands of women fear when they were born in a larger clinic: their children were accidentally exchanged by the clinic staff at an inattentive moment. And had it not been for a particularly attentive family member noticing the confusion, the women might still breastfeed a strange child today.

Human error Cause of baby confusion Various security measures, such as bracelets for mother and child, are actually used in the maternity ward of the clinic to prevent accidental confusion of the infants. In the current case, however, the hospital staff apparently did not match the bracelets of the two infants sufficiently with those of their mothers, so that the women nursed a strange baby for over eight hours. It was only through the intervention of an attentive family member that the baby was confused in the end. The hospital management apologized immediately for the "human error", but the mothers' first hours, which were particularly important for many, were taken away with their own child. According to the experts, the first contact with one's own child immediately after birth is a particularly sensitive moment in which the bond between mother and child reaches a new level. But the mothers in the Australian clinic did not spend this moment with their own, but with a strange child. The confusion might not even have been noticed and the mothers would have taken the strange babies home if a particularly attentive family member had not noticed the different lettering on the bracelets of the mother and child.

Clinic management announces intensive examinations The clinic management and the staff have expressly apologized for the confusion of babies already noticed on Friday and solicited the mothers for understanding of human error. The infants were also subjected to an intensive examination to rule out possible infections from breastfeeding the strange women. Since the correct babies ended up with their mothers, the doctors may be able to hope for the patient's indulgence. Nevertheless, further investigations into the incident have been initiated in order to definitely avoid such errors in the future, the clinic management said. In view of the current case, however, the question arises as to how often such confusions actually occur in everyday clinical practice and how many of these confusions may not be discovered, so that those affected raise a “strange” child throughout their lives. (fp)

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Photo credit: lydia margerdt / pixelio.de

Author and source information

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