Families win damages for baby swap at hospital

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The Independent Online

A court in provincial Russia has ordered a hospital that accidentally switched two babies and handed them to the wrong parents nearly 13 years ago to pay about £60,000 in damages to each of the families.

The mix-up in the Urals town of Kopeisk came to light when Yuliya Belyayeva and her husband were getting divorced, and he insisted on a DNA test to prove that he was indeed the father of 12-year-old Irina before he agreed to pay child support. The results showed that neither was the parent.

Ms Belyayeva recalls that staff at the hospital had got angry with her for screaming too loudly at her labour pains, and suspects that nurses may have maliciously swapped her baby.

Police managed to track the Belyayevas' biological child to a family on the other side of Kopeisk. Anya had been raised by the Iskanderov family.

The court said too many years had passed for the families to bring criminal charges, but agreed that each family should receive 3m roubles. The families' trauma is compounded by the fact the Iskanderovs are Muslims and the Belyayevas are Christians.