File Picture: Pexels
File Picture: Pexels

DNA tests confirm identities of babies who were accidentally swapped at an Ekurhuleni hospital

By Shaun Smillie Time of article published Aug 7, 2020

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Johannesburg - The two babies who were accidentally swapped at the Tambo Memorial Hospital on the East Rand are finally going home, after DNA tests confirmed their identities.

The babies had been kept at the hospital for two weeks, pending the outcome of thate test.

“Yes, all mothers are collecting their babies at this moment,” the spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Health Kwara Kekana, told the Saturday Star, late yesterday afternoon.

The two babies, a boy and girl were born on July 24.The mother of the girl realised the mistake when the evening she took her newborn home. When she released the nappy, she discovered that the child was a boy.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702, the baby’s mother said that after giving birth she had left the child at the hospital because of a medical condition.

On the day that the child was finally discharged, the mother saidshe received a call from the hospital asking her to check if the baby still had a drip in its left leg.

Discovering that the baby did have the drip, she was told to return to the hospital. After the drip was removed, the baby and motherey went home.

Following the discovery that theyshe had the wrong baby, the woman told the radio station that she and the father of the child went to the hospital the following day to report what had happened.

There she claimsed the nursing staff were nonchalant about the incident and said it was a mistake.The mother said while she was at the hospital she met the mother of the child that was mistakenly given to her. The woman, she said, was so in shocked she couldn’t speak.

Kekana said that the standard protocols were followed. Usually, she said at birth, a name tag is placed on each of thea baby’s feeoot, with the name of the mother. In this instantce, this was done.

The mothers also took a photograph of their babies, and during the discharge process, their identity documentsIDs were matched with the babies’ files.But what wasn’t done was that the name tags were not matched to the mothers.

“The one name tag is removed and placed with the baby’s file and the other name tag is kept on the baby’s foot for a week while at home. This explains why the babies came back with name tags still on them,” said Kekana.

She added the hospital was looking at putting in place measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “Part of strengthening will be a sex identification to eliminate any possibly future mishaps,” she said.

When the mishap was discovered, both families were interviewed by the sister in charge and the head of department. They were also given llingcounselled. The matter was then referred to a social worker to organise DNA testing of the babies. This was after one of the fathers requested that this be done. The DNA tests took place on Tuesday.

The department described the incident as regrettable and has instituted disciplinary proceedings against the staff involved. “Statements have been collected and a preliminary report has been written,” said Kekana.

The Saturday Star

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