Another Colossal Hospital Screw-Up Leads a Woman to Breastfeed the Wrong Baby for Two Hours

iStock_000072083989_SmallOne would think that it would be pretty easy to keep track of babies. They don’t really go anywhere. You just put them in a little bassinet, and they stay there until you come and move them again. Still, hospitals keep finding ways to screw it up, and now one Australian mother is rightfully pissed off because a hospital screw-up led to her baby being breastfed by a stranger for nearly two hours.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Stefanie Phillips had just given birth to her daughter, Ellie, and was recovering in the hospital room she shared with another new mother. Hospital staff had taken the babies away so the mothers could rest a little, but then a nurse brought Ellie in to be breastfed and accidentally handed her to the wrong mother.

That mother, who did not notice anything amiss, proceeded to snuggle “her” new baby and breastfeed her and take tons of cute “here is my new baby” photos with her. She even did skin-to-skin time with her, as one does with a newborn. She reportedly had Ellie for about two hours before someone realized the mistake.

Phillips was stunned, as anyone would have been.

“I was very overwhelmed, I had just become a new mum. I didn’t know what to say in that situation,” she said.

All babies at the Gosford Hospital have coded bracelets that match them to their mothers, but apparently a staff member neglected to cross-check the bracelets before handing Ellie to the wrong mother.

“All newborn babies are provided with identification bands and it is standard protocol that the baby’s band is cross-checked against that of the mother’s after periods of separation such as the provision of respite for new mums,” said Central Coast Local Health District chief executive Matt Hanrahan, who described the situation as “very concerning.”

Phillips is still very upset, especially since she says Ellie has consistently refused her breast and has had to be fed by bottle. Not being able to breastfeed when one wants to is very upsetting, and knowing that someone else did breastfeed your baby must be very hard to get over.

Obviously, none of this is the fault of the other mother who was handed a baby girl that she thought was her own. That woman did what anyone would do: She nursed the baby, she took pictures, she did skin-on-skin contact. Sure, it was the wrong baby, but babies do tend to look a lot alike, and both Ellie and the other baby were handed back to their proper mothers unharmed.

(Photo:  deepblue4you/iStockPhoto/Getty images)

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