20 November 2012
In what was reportedly the first baby mix-up in a public hospital, two sets of parents went home from KKH with the wrong babies.
Just how did the hospital err?
KKH said the mistake was discovered an hour after one of the couples got home and noticed their baby wore an identification tag – which hospital staff tie around every newborn’s ankle – with another mother’s name.
After blood tests confirmed that the baby they brought home wasn’t theirs, the hospital informed the second set of parents, who have been cuddling the wrong baby for about 10 hours by then.
“The hospital deeply regrets this error, and the babies have been reunited with their biological parents. Both babies are well and with their respective mothers, who have been offered counselling from the hospital,” a media statement read.
While the hospital is still investigating what happened, KKH CEO said they suspected that checks were not carried out properly when the baby was being discharged.
Local media reported Kwek as saying that nurses are supposed to check the tags when the babies are discharged from the hospital, but “sometimes, if the baby is sleeping, the nurses are a bit reluctant and I think the parents are also reluctant (to have the tags checked) because, to check the ankle, they have to undo the blanket and unwrap the baby, and that unsettles the baby”.
“We suspect that's what happened – a failure to check," he said, before adding that both babies had no "distinguishing characteristics" and looked very similar.
Kwek added, "This is a terrible incident ... it is the first and will be the last time."
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