Families of two women accidentally switched at birth awarded €1.88m in ruling by French court

The court in Grasse ordered the private clinic to make the payments after a nurse's assistant accidentally gave the two girls to the wrong parents

James Rush
Tuesday 10 February 2015 15:15
Sophie Serrano (left) and her daughter Manon Serrano leave court in Grasse, southern France, after a hearing for damages
Sophie Serrano (left) and her daughter Manon Serrano leave court in Grasse, southern France, after a hearing for damages

The families of two women who were switched at birth more than 20 years ago are to receive damages of €1.88 million (£1.4m), a court in France has ruled.

The court in the Riviera town of Grasse ordered the Clinica Jourdan, in Cannes, and an insurance company to make the payments after a nurse's assistant accidentally gave the two girls to the wrong parents following their birth in July 1994.

Both girls had been suffering from jaundice at birth and had been placed in the same incubator at the Cannes clinic.

Despite the women expressing doubts about the identities of the babies at the time, they were told there had been no mistake and took the children home.

In 2004 however, one of the mothers discovered her daughter was not biologically related to her following a DNA test.

Sophie Serrano (right, in December 2014), who raised Manon Serrano (left), has now expressed relief that the error had been acknowledged

An investigation was launched and her biological child was found less than 20 miles away.

Now, the clinic and an insurance company has been ordered to pay the two daughters £300,000 (€400,000) each.

The clinic's lawyer, Sophie Chas, has said she was not certain whether an appeal would be lodged against the decision.

Ms Chas said the court ordered payments of €300,000 (£223,000) for each of three parents involved in the case and €60,000 (£45,000) to three brothers and sisters.

"I am perfectly satisfied (with the ruling) because responsibility within the medical chain was acknowledged," the lawyer for the victims, Gilbert Collard, said.

The families had sought a total of €12m (£9m), but had little hope of obtaining that amount, he said.

Sophie Serrano, who raised Manon Serrano, one of the two daughters accidentally switched at birth, has now expressed relief that the error had been acknowledged.

She said: "It's a relief. We have waited for this for so long."

The other family involved in the case has chosen to remain anonymous.

The suit brought in 2010 by the two families also targeted two doctors and the nurse's assistant who made the switch, but the court did not convict them.

Additional reporting by PA and Reuters

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