Hospital Switches Baby, Mom Out of Luck

April Peveteaux
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babies switched at birth
Is That My Baby?
Have you ever looked at your screaming child and thought, "Hmmm, I wonder if they didn't switch her with a much more annoying child at birth?" You wouldn't be alone with that fantasy, but oddly, baby switching does still happen today in spite of the mom/baby ID bracelets and baby LoJacks every hospital seems to put on the newborns.

But if it happens to you, don't expect any recourse. As one New York mom found out when she tried to sue. Apparently being given someone else's baby is not a big enough deal to punish a hospital.

While I can see the mom's point in suing, it sounds like -- in her particular case -- it wasn't such a big deal. After she was given someone else's baby, nurses rushed in to take the baby back. The mistake was quickly realized and remedied within minutes. She hadn't nursed the other baby, and there's no evidence that her baby was given to another mom in the hospital. Yes, it's got to be frustrating and frightening to think that someone else could have taken your baby home, but in the end, it was a mistake that lasted a couple of minutes. No harm, no foul.

Of course that didn't happen to me, so I can only imagine what the mom must have felt when she was told that she was given someone else's baby. However, having toured Long Island College Hospital when I was thinking about giving birth in Brooklyn, they seem to have the standard protections in place, so it is highly unlikely the wrong baby would have been sent home with the mother. If more had happened, like a drug-addicted or contagious, HIV-positive mom had nursed the woman's child, or the nursing staff remained confused about which baby was which, that's another story. If even a tiny bit of harm came to the baby due to this mistake, suing is more than justified. But it seems that was not the case.

Maybe I'm just being cavalier because it seems like a funny story: "Babies Switched at Birth!" but I think suing for a mistake that lasted few minutes is overkill. Apparently the court system did as well. Hopefully both moms, with their babies, are happy and healthy at home.

Do you think the mom should be able to sue the hospital?

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