State Health Department: Babies Accidentally Switched at Hospital - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Marion, IL

State Health Department: Babies Accidentally Switched at Hospital

State Health Department: Babies Accidentally Switched at Hospital
By: Arnold Wyrick & AP

MARION, Ill. - A mix up at a southern Illinois hospital leaves the families of two baby boys asking a lot of questions.

Two young mothers arrived at the Heartland Regional Medical center on the same day in late March to deliver their babies.

The deliveries were successful, but the families' problems began when they left the Marion hospital.

Some how, some way the wrong baby went home with the wrong mother.

The mix up wasn't discovered until one of the set of parents were already in their home.

A spokeswoman for the state health department says the hospital wasn't required to report the matter, but it did on April 4th.  The state agency is investigating.

Now the parents' attorney wants some answers from the hospital.

"They may fire somebody and say now it's all better.  My concern is that there's something wrong with the system and I think there may be something wrong with the staffing that let this happen.  It think that need to look very carefully at what they've done," said John Womick, the families' lawyer.

The Heartland Regional Medical Center responded to the situation.

"We genuinely regeret the circumstances surrounding the discharge of these infants.  Fortunately, the situation was quickly identified and corrected within hours, with both healthy babies being joined with their families.  Unfortunatley, because the families have elected to hire a lawyer, we are not able to discuss this in any more detail at this time."

It is uncommon for this type of thing to happen.  That's because hospitals generally take major precautions to keep babies with their families.

At Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, they've been using the same idenitification procedures for their babies and families for years.  And so far it's been working without any problems.

Everyone who works in the baby birthing suites is aware of how the system works and it all starts when the baby is born.

"When the baby is born, before the baby leaves the delivery site all these things happen. The bands go on the baby, band goes on the mother and then a fourth band goes on the father or somebody else the mother designates.  Then the baby can leave," said George Maroney, administrator at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.

Should one of the bands come off the baby before they leave Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, the administrator says it's highly unlikely that a baby would lose both of them.

All bands on mother and baby are rechecked before they leave the hospital to ensure they match.

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