Inquiries to be held into baby mix-up
Sunday 06 December 1992
The two babies sent home from Princess Anne Maternity Hospital, Southampton, with the wrong parents were reunited with their true parents early yesterday. The parents met at a hotel to swap babies after DNA tests confirmed that a mistake had been made.
Both were born on 24 November and taken home three days later. The possibility of a mistake was raised when one set of parents noticed that an identity tag bore the wrong surname.
The mix-up is the subject of an internal inquiry. An independent one will be held into the long-term implications.
A Department of Health spokesman said that the parents would not automatically receive compensation, but added that the department 'deeply regrets' this 'one in a million' case. Lawyers believe that the couples may be entitled to sue the hospital, and that they could claim compensation for emotional trauma.
Describing yesterday's meeting of the four parents, John Miller, clinical director at the hospital, said: 'We were remarkably encouraged by the way they did react. If that is carried on in the future I would like to think they will very quickly come to terms with what has happened.' He said neither of the babies had been breast-fed.
The hospital has not named the parents, but yesterday's Daily Mail identified them as Maureen and Tony Bursey, of Brockenhurst, Hampshire, and Marie Coyle and her boyfriend, Peter Wadsley, of Southampton.
Mrs Bursey, 46, a supermarket supervisor, was quoted as saying: 'I had an instinct right from the beginning that something was wrong, but I kept hoping that this baby was mine.'
Ms Coyle, 27, a former hospital worker, had believed she had the right child and was reported to have cried inconsolably when the news was broken, saying: 'I can't believe it. My beautiful baby.'
Other recent cases of mistaken identity at maternity hospitals occurred at Morriston Hospital, Swansea in 1971, Freedom Fields Hospital, Plymouth in 1986 and Portlaoise General Hospital, Co Laois in the Irish Republic, the same year.
Guidelines recently reissued by the Royal College of Midwives include: keeping mothers and babies together at all times wherever possible, and tying two identity labels to the infant - preferably to the ankles.
But some hospitals are planning even more stringent procedures. Dudley Road in Birmingham has announced that babies will be photographed and fingerprinted.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial: Case turns into a bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Liam Neeson on death of wife Natasha Richardson: ‘When I hear the door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her’
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson
- 5 Livr: A social network only for drunk people
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...