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Do you need to worry about your baby being switched at birth?

Sarah is a lifestyle writer and travel blogger who can often be found loitering in a cafe with a pot of tea and a good book. Over the last eight years Sarah has lived and worked abroad in the United Kingdom, Spain and Colombia and has tr...

Melbourne maternity ward mix-up with newborns raises questions about hospital procedures

From SheKnows Australia
A mother has been left feeling traumatised after nursing the wrong baby at hospital after giving birth.

According to the Seven News report, which aired on Tuesday night, Samantha Stuhlener was given another woman's child by mistake, after a midwife failed to check the identification wristbands.

Stuhlener spent 45 minutes with the newborn before being informed that it wasn't her son. "I said, 'What's happened? What's going on?' And [the nurse] said, 'You didn't have Levi, you had somebody else's baby,'" she told Seven News.

Both Samantha and her partner, Nick, are understandably distraught about the situation, but are also concerned that they haven't been given the report, which contains information about Levi's whereabouts while Samantha was nursing the other child.

To make matters even worse, an apology letter, with $500 worth of vouchers, was sent to the parents of the other baby, but was addressed to Samantha and Nick.

It sounds absolutely terrifying to think that their child might have been switched at birth if the staff hadn't picked up the fault.

This isn't the first time such an incident has happened in Australia, either. While incidences of being switched at birth are rare, other cases do exist.

In 2011, two newborn babies were mixed up at a Victorian hospital and spent more than half a day with the wrong mothers before one of the staff realised there was a mix-up. St John of God Hospital in Geelong blamed human error for the mistake.

Should mothers be nervous about the arrival of their babies? Should they be worried about staff making the switch with another newborn?

Well, not necessarily, but it doesn't hurt to be vigilant. Occurrences like these, while completely terrifying for the parents, are also incredibly rare. And hospitals implement a range of methods to keep the identity of a child clear.

Identification techniques include wristbands and even tracking devices that are attached to both mother and baby to avoid kidnapping as well as accidental switches. Parents can also be vigilant about where to give birth, prioritising hospitals that have more than one security procedure in place. Mum can also ask that tests be carried out in their own room so her baby doesn't leave the space.

What do you think? Are you concerned about having your baby switched at birth? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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