Mothers given wrong babies in maternity unit blunder

EMBARRASSED maternity chiefs have been forced to apologise to two mothers who were handed the wrong babies after giving birth.

One of the newborns even faced tests for HIV and other diseases after being breastfed by the wrong woman after the error at Bassetlaw Hospital, Worksop.

In a shocking parallel to a storyline in Coronation Street, the babies were switched at birth and ended up in the wrong arms. But unlike the TV script, the real-life mothers were told of the mistake after a few hours and given the right children.

Yesterday, managers at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust apologised to the two families involved in the switch but refused to name them.

The mistake, which happened last month, was revealed after a health worker blew the whistle following a Healthcare Commission report praising the hospital as "excellent".

One of the women involved is of Polish origin and the other is a local woman, according to the insider.

A hospital trust spokesman confirmed there had been an error but said it was an isolated incident and both mothers had been given a full apology and an explanation.

He added: "We can confirm that there was a most unfortunate, isolated incident in which two babies were mistakenly given to the wrong mothers for a brief time.

"Although every baby has an identification band, it is apparent that these were not checked properly with the result that babies were not given to their own mothers and one child was fed once.

"This is an extraordinary and most unfortunate incident, which we deeply regret. We have been very frank and candid with the families and are continuing our investigation of, and a response to, a complaint.

"This incident is the subject of appropriate action with the staff involved. Both mothers have had an apology and a full explanation."

Bassetlaw Hospital's maternity unit was given a top five out of five rating by the Healthcare Commission in its recent report.

The top scores came in two areas: how readily women can access maternity care and information and the involvement of women and their partners and families in evaluating the available services.

At the time, Hilary Bond, director of nursing said the results were exceptional.

She added: "We are one of only 38 best performing maternity units across the country.

"There are areas where we know we can do better and we will use this independent revue by the Healthcare Commission as a starting point."

The incident mirrors a case in December 2006 when two newborn girls were switched at a hospital in the Czech town in Trebic.

It was not until a DNA test showed a year later that the girls had been swapped at birth. The two families involved had developed strong bonds with the children they believed to be their own.