Dreadful act by clinic

With the benefit of hindsight, there is a sense that the tragic saga of two mothers caught up in a babies mix-up at Johannesburg's Alexandra Clinic could have been avoided.

Nurses at the clinic should have been more thorough in their work and stricter procedures should have been in place to ensure that this kind of incident was not allowed to happen.

Though human errors do sometimes occur in any working environment, laxity and ineptitude are inexcusable.

How did two babies end up without identification tags in the first place, setting off a series of mind-boggling events that led to the confusion about which newborn belonged to which mother.

Worse, the clinic allowed the two mothers to go home without the confusion having been resolved. It was well and good that blood samples were taken from both mothers for DNA tests, but then why the hurry to send them home - and without verifying their personal details.

When one of the babies died on Tuesday, the clinic staff discovered that the other woman could not be traced.

The woman with the dead baby now has to wait anxiously for the DNA results to determine which is her rightful baby.

This is gross negligence on the part of both the nurses involved and the clinic's management, which has also shown a disturbing lapse in judgment throughout this unsavoury episode.

An internal inquiry must be instituted urgently.