Doctor performs surgery on wrong baby at US hospital

The baby boy underwent an unnecessary frenectomy at a hospital in Tennessee

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The Independent US

Doctors have operated on the wrong baby in the US after “asking for the wrong infant” at a hospital in Tennessee.

Jennifer Melton, 31, gave birth to her son Nate on 16 December at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, near Nashville.

The following day a nurse took him away for what she was told would be a routine check-up but returned with blood in his mouth.

The surgery was carried out at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tennessee

Ms Melton told People a nurse told them he had undergone a frenectomy – cutting a band of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the mouth – to help with non-existent “nursing problems”.

“I picked up my precious Nate and looked in his mouth and saw speckles of blood under his tongue,” she said. 

“I immediately began crying, wondering what had they done to my innocent child! It's not like he can speak up and tell them to stop. 

”The pediatrician explained to me that he had accidentally asked for the wrong child, and performed the surgery on Nate by mistake.” 

In a progress report obtained by WTVF television, the paediatrician admitted wrongdoing.

“I had asked for the wrong infant. I had likely performed the procedure on an infant different than the one I intended to ... and I admitted my mistake and apologised,” he wrote.

At almost two months old, Nate seems healthy but Ms Melton and her 33-year-old partner Dominique Harper are concerned his speech and eating habits may be affected.

“I can't sleep, it's like a horrible dream come to life,” Ms Melton told People

“I worry and pray that he doesn't have any issues in the future from what they did with this unneeded procedure.” 

Frenectomies are a minor procedure carried out when the flap of skin connecting the underside of tongue is too tight and causes feeding and speech problems.

Up to 5 per cent of babies in the US are born with some form of “tongue-tie”, which can also cause breast-feeding issues.

The University Medical Center told US media outlets it could not comment on the incident because of privacy regulations. It has not responded to the Independent’s request for a comment