baby mix-up at alexandra clinic
Two mothers are caught up in a tragic baby mix-up which has left them wondering whether to mourn or sympathise.
They both gave birth to baby girls at the Alexandra Clinic on Sunday afternoon. But nurses forgot to strap their tiny wrists with identification tags.
So, blood samples were taken from both mothers and babies to enable the clinic to conduct a DNA test to draw a match.
Worse still, the mothers were told to take any of the babies home with them and come back tomorrow for the results.
But the other baby died on Tuesday - and the clinic is not able to trace the other mother and baby.
"We have tried to contact the woman but the phone number she gave us goes to a wrong person. We now suspect she gave us a wrong number or the nurses took a wrong number," chief operations officer at the clinic, Dr Muvili Simba, said.
One of the mothers says she is traumatised by the event.
"We did not know which baby belonged to who when they were finally brought back to us about two hours after birth," Lebo Nkadimeng said yesterday.
Officials at the clinic say the two nurses who neglected to tag the babies went home at the end of their shifts just before 7pm.
Nurses in the new shift discovered that the two children did not have their parents' names strapped to their wrists.
"We only discovered the bungle when nurses brought the babies to us for breast-feeding. They asked us whether we could identify our babies without tags, and when we could not, they took the babies back to bottle- feed them," Nkadimeng said.
The following day both mothers were discharged, each taking a baby. Before they were discharged, DNA tests were done and the results are due to be released tomorrow.
In a tragic fate, one of the babies died a day after being released from the clinic.
"I have not eaten or slept since the baby died.
"I am torn between grief of losing a child and the thought of explaining to the other woman how her child died, if it's hers. I cannot even mourn the baby's death because I am not sure if she was mine," Nkadimeng said.
Nkadimeng and the other mother gave birth to baby girls on Sunday around 5.30pm. They were shown their babies just after delivery but did not take into consideration how they looked as they still had to be bathed.
Two hours after delivery, nurses taking over from those that helped the two mothers give birth noticed that the babies had no name tags.
"A nurse came to the beds telling us that the babies had no name tags. She asked if we could identify them. We told her we could try but it would be difficult as we did not get much of a glimpse of them.
"When the babies were brought to us, we could not tell them apart because they looked the same and weighed the same," Nkadimeng explained.
On Monday, the clinic advised that DNA tests be done on both mothers and the babies.
"The tests were done as a precautionary measure. We did ask the women if they could identify their children and they said they could.
"To be sure, we had to do the tests. The results will be available tomorrow," Simba said.