Mothers ‘given wrong babies in hospital blunder’

A new mother was left feeding someone else’s baby after blundering hospital staff gave her the wrong child, a hearing was told yesterday.

Midwife Jill Ashmore tried to persuade a student to keep quiet about the mistake after an inquiry was mounted at the Bassetlaw Hospital, in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, it is claimed.

The babies had been mistakenly switched only hours after they were born on November 13, 2007, when they were taken away to be cared for while the mothers rested, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

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Ward staff later returned the wrong babies to the mothers, known as Mother A and Mother B.

“Two babies were born during the afternoon of the 13 November 2007,” said David Clarke, for the NMC. “Overnight both of the babies were having some trouble settling and were taken from their mothers, with the agreement of the mothers, to a different area where they were looked after by midwives and health care assistants.

“There was a mistake on their return – in fact there was two mistakes – as Baby B was returned to the Mother A, and Baby A was given to Mother B.

“When the mistake had been realised, they were recovered and given back to the correct mothers.

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‘When the registrant was returning Baby A to Mother A, she told the mother the baby had not been fed during the period they had been separated.

“It is alleged the registrant told the mother this without determining if that was correct.

“As it turns out, the baby had been fed; breast fed by Mother B who at the time had thought she was feeding her own baby.”

The panel heard the blunder was reported and investigated by the hospital, at which point Ashmore told student midwife Claire Newton-Jones to cover up the blunder.

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“During the course of the internal investigation of what had happened the registrant attempted to influence what a student midwife, who was present, was going to say to that internal investigation,” Mr Clarke added.

He told the panel Ashmore told Ms Newton-Jones she should not say anything about Mother B breastfeeding the baby of Mother A, should say the bare minimum and should not “drop anybody in the s***.”

Ashmore admits she failed to record the error in the mothers’ notes and failed to inform anyone at the time of the change over of one shift to another.

She denies the rest of the charges, but is not attending the central London hearing.

If found guilty of misconduct she could face being struck off.

The hearing continues.