Childrearing

Russian Girls Switched At Birth, Doctor Blames Moms

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Last month we wrote about Anya and Irina – 12-year-old Russian girls who were switched at birth. The families only recently became aware of the mix-up and, on Monday, a judge awarded each family a record-breaking 3 million rubles (around $100,000) in compensation. Yulia Belyayeva, who has raised Irina as her own, said the families would use the money to build houses next to each other, so that they can look after the children together.

Here’s the most shocking part of the story: A doctor who helped deliver the babies said the girls’ mothers are to blame. “To be honest, it is very difficult for me to understand how, after you have received your baby, after it was brought to your breast, how could you accept another baby that is brought to you,” Aleksandr Andryenko said during a television appearance.

Say what?!

According to an article in The New York Times, the case has sparked outrage over Russia’s “birth houses” (high-volume maternity wards). Apparently mix-ups like these aren’t so rare. In fact, on one of the country’s popular talk-show websites, a slew of women wrote that they had seen first-hand nurses mixing up babies. One even described receiving another woman’s baby during feeding time. Another wrote that she found her baby tagged with the wrong name and, when she shouted, “Where’s my baby?” she was told, “Come on, Kopelevich, Korolevich, what’s the difference?”

That seems to have been the case with Anya and Irina; the midwife in charge of the ward on the day the girls were born said the mix-up wasn’t her fault and yet acknowledged that the babies’ “last names were almost identical,” reports the Times.

Honestly, it’s devastating enough what these families are going through. I can’t believe that anyone – let alone these women’s doctor – would hint that the mothers are even partially to blame. How’s that for a giant slap on the face?

(Photo: nytimes.com)