In March, Lisa Carthy was admitted to the hospital three weeks before she was due to give birth to her daughter Amira. The mother-of-four had an emergency C-section, but this was only the start of her drama. After she gave birth, Lisa’s nightmare unfolded when she tried to breastfeed Amira for the very first time.
Though she had already given birth three times before, nothing could have prepared Lisa for what would happen after delivering Amira. Hours after her C-section, the 34-year-old from West Yorkshire in the UK went to breastfeed her daughter for the first time, but something went horribly wrong.
Nurses led Lisa to the neonatal unit and placed a baby in her arms. After she had already begun bonding with the child, allowing the newborn to feed at her breast, it was discovered that the infant was someone else’s — the infant was not Amira.
Lisa was admitted to local Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield three weeks before her due date and her daughter Amira, now four months, was delivered by emergency C-section in March.
The tot had breathing difficulties so was taken to an incubator in special care.
But nurses at the hospital allegedly didn’t realise baby Amira had been moved to a different cot so [they] led Lisa to the wrong child.
A hospital report admitted that staff did not check Lisa’s identification before she entered the neonatal unit or before she was given her baby. [Source: The Sun]
“I was nursing the baby when I noticed the child’s tag had the name of another woman on it,” said Lisa. “I said to the nurse: ‘I think you’ve put the wrong tag on my baby.’ She didn’t stop me breastfeeding while she went to check and came back with the ward manager. They told me: ‘There’s been a mix-up. I don’t think this is your baby. I think your baby is in the room next door,'” recalled Lisa.
“I asked: ‘Why has my baby been moved?’ But I never got a reply. And I was so shell-shocked – I had just given birth the day before,” she continued. “They took me to my baby and the manager said: ‘I’m really sorry, we need to tell the mother you had skin to skin contact with her child.’ I was in so much shock. I trusted the nurses to take me to my baby,” added Lisa.
The confusion arose because baby Amira, born three weeks early at Pinderfields Hospital in the UK, had been in special care instead of in the same room as her mother.
And it led to months of anxiety and missed bonding time between the new mum and her baby. [Source: Yahoo7 News]
The mother-of-four was forced to take a blood test to make sure she hadn’t passed HIV to the other woman’s child. She was also devastated to learn that Amira had been bottle fed, which has been known to cause issues for babies if their mother plans to breastfeed them. Feeding a breastfed baby from a bottle can cause what is referred to as “nipple confusion,” whereby a baby gets “confused” and will not latch to the breast after eating from a bottle.
Unfortunately, though, this was the least of Lisa’s worries because she found it difficult to bond with Amira after what happened at the hospital. “For weeks after, I was looking at my baby thinking: ‘Is she mine?'” said Lisa. “It took me weeks to realize that I had the right baby now,” she recalled.
“I can’t believe that kind of mistake can still happen,” she added. “It’s caused me terrible trauma. Even now, four and a half months later, I’m still in shock. If I was a first-time mum, I wouldn’t have been able to bond with Amira at all.”
Since the mix-up, Lisa has split with Amira’s father, and she blames their break-up on the hospital’s snafu. “I struggled at the beginning,” she admitted. “It put so much strain on my relationship, and in the end, we broke up – I don’t think I would have split up with the father of my children if this hadn’t happened. I keep wondering: how many other mums have been through this?”
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals admitted that staff at Pinderfields Hospital did not match Lisa’s identification to her baby’s name and that she was left alone with a child who was not hers for twenty minutes. Lisa has now filed a formal complaint with the hospital, which will begin putting name tags on the cubicles in response to her ordeal.
One can only wonder what caused these nurses to miss such a basic function of their jobs, but we can make an educated guess. Under the NHS system of socialized medicine, nurses in the UK can expect a 1:8 nurse to patient ratio at a minimum but usually even more. In fact, not long ago, NHS was involved in a scandal in which it was accused of backtracking on improvements in patient safety by reducing the number of nurses on wards because of its growing financial crisis, making nurses care for more than 8 patients at a time. That’s socialized medicine for you. In short, you get what you pay for.