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Baby mistakenly given to wrong mother due to hospital’s error

Two families are upset after hospital staff gave a newborn baby to the wrong mother for breast feeding a few weeks ago. Fortunately, the incident of hospital negligence did not result in any injuries, but the incident is a reminder of how easily mistakes can be made amongst doctors and nurses in Illinois and throughout the entire U.S. when they fail to follow hospital procedures and guidelines for properly identifying patients.

The hospital error occurred after a nurse failed to check hospital records and room changes of a patient before bringing the patient her newborn baby. Additionally, an identification card program did not show the changed room number of the mother and an identification bracelet on the baby did not match the mother’s bracelet when the nurse went into the room. The father of the baby said the child had been breast-fed while in the wrong hands, but it has only been speculation, according to the hospital.

The hospital’s CEO acknowledged the mistake and both families have received an apology for incident. The baby was in no way harmed and was only in the wrong hands for about three minutes, the hospital claims. The CEO said that the mother had been transferred to another room before staff brought her baby back to her because the hospital was busy the day the incident occurred.

Since the incident, the CEO said it has done away with the ID card system and has adopted a program that has better security features. The new identification system is called “Hugs and Kisses,” and a warning will sound if the baby is not matched with his or her mother. However, the CEO also noted that prior to the incident the hospital did require staff to always match a mother’s identification bracelet to her child’s identification bracelet. Unfortunately, the nurse failed to do this before she placed the baby in the wrong mother’s arms.

Source: Duluth News Tribune, “Controversy is born when new mom gets wrong baby,” Bill Hanna, April 19, 2012


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