Newborns swapped in Singapore hospital!

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Being given the wrong baby by the hospital is one of those nightmares that you think will never happen to you. Yet, this became a reality for two mothers right here in Singapore when they were given the wrong babies upon discharge from hospital.

Premiere women and children’s hospital KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) is at the center of a baby swapping incident and is currently carrying out thorough investigations to find out how this error occurred.

Vigilant parents
According to reports by Channel News Asia, the error was spotted by one of the parents an hour after they left the hospital. The parent had noticed that the baby they had taken home wore an identification tag belonging to another mother. The parents informed the hospital and a blood test was carried out on the baby in question which confirmed the mix-up.

Tag! You’re not it!
KKH has said that all babies are required to have double tags. It was reported that the first baby had an incorrect tag and a correct tag on his legs when he was given to the wrong parents. However, according to the CNA report, the other baby involved was wearing two correct tags when he was discharged from the hospital to the wrong set of parents. The baby had also already been with the parents for more than 10 hours when the error was reported and the parents informed.

What next?
KKH issued an apology to both sets of parents and say that it deeply regrets this error adding that a thorough investigation and review will be carried out into this debacle. Due to the graveness of the issue and the role the hospital played, KKH is extending full medical and emotional support to both families, with both mothers also being offered counselling by the hospital.

KKH has also said that it takes a very serious view of the incident and promised to take all steps necessary to prevent a similar recurrence.

Newborn infant care in the hospital

What do you think of the baby swap incident?

The public speaks
The report which was also posted on Channel News Asia’s Facebook page, has since gotten 389 likes, 282 shares and just under 300 comments. Some of the comments made blamed the nurses while others blamed the parents while others questioned if such a thing has happened before and it was just never discovered.

Here are some of the comments taken from the CNA facebook post.

Felicia Ong – ‘How would the authorities act if this only discovered after baby grows and looks different from their parents? To be a Doctor or nurse, you’re not allowed to make mistake. Can you imagine a surgeon operating on you and … oops, cut the wrong organ or stitch wrongly? In most professions, you can be pardoned for your mistake. But this is one profession that you CANNOT afford to make mistake!!’

Jeffrey Yeo – ‘No system is ever perfect, let alone a complex one like in healthcare. Important thing is the error was caught. It’s so easy to be armchair critics – try working in a hospital for a day, and you’ll see how tough it is to be up on your feet the whole day, handling patients that complain non stop. Foreign nurses or not, they all deserve our respect.’

IdabbJoy Fjg – ‘Dun ever blame d moms! She juz went thru tough hrs delivered n physically emotionally strained n drained. Some pple just dun think before they comment.’

Suresh Kumar – ‘Eventhough,This is not acceptable in Singapore & proper discipline action need to be taken. The only thing, I can’t understand how the respective parents cant even recognize their own babies’

Aaron Yeoh – ‘This is strange. My wife gave birth at kkh. Upon baby delivery the nurse would ask both parents to chk the tag before tagging the baby. A full investigation shld be make known to the public as kkh deliver the most number of babies. The nurses involved shld b given day off. They are too tired. Healthcare sector is very badly stretched.’

Take our poll and tell us what you would do if this happened to you.

For more related articles on your baby, see:

10 dangerous medicines for your baby

Baby swapping preventive measures in Singapore

What happens to your baby after delivery?

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Written by

Wafa Marican