Two families who simultaneously welcomed newborns at a government referral hospital on Saturday, in Jambugam village of Bodeli taluka in Chhota Udepur district, underwent a DNA test on Monday to confirm which of the two babies is their respective biological child. A nurse at the hospital had accidentally handed over one family’s baby to the other in a “state of confusion”.
On Saturday, two women were wheeled simultaneously into the operation theatre of Jambugam referral hospital and both underwent a cesarean section. The first woman delivered a baby girl, who was immediately shifted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and the second woman delivered a healthy baby boy.
However, when the nurse on duty brought the baby boy outside, she allegedly did not confirm anybody’s name before handing over the newborn to the family members that rushed towards her first.
“It was a lack of communication. The nurse did not ask for names before handing over the baby to the people that stretched their hands out first. The other family was told that their baby girl was in NICU. Later, when the doctor arrived to check up on the two women, he noticed that the family of the woman whose baby girl was in NICU was holding the baby boy born to the other family,” said an official of Bodeli police station.
However, when the hospital tried to explain the situation to the families, the parents of the baby girl initially refused to accept the same, police said.
“There was a huge commotion as the families fought with each other — both claiming the boy to be theirs. The nurse also tried to explain that she had handed over the child in a state of confusion, but it did not help as the families were not confident that the hospital was speaking the truth. Therefore, the hospital suggested that they could help rectify the error by conducting a DNA test for the satisfaction of the families,” said Assistant Sub-Inspector Bharat Rathwa of Bodeli police station.
Accordingly, the hospital submitted an application to the police department seeking its approval for the test in order to resolve the matter. “We have permitted it as both families had given their consent. We have also taken a written guarantee from the families that they will abide by the test results,” Rathwa said.
The families, police added, were taken to Vadodara for collecting DNA samples on Monday. Deepak Foundation, that runs the hospital on a public private partnership model with the state government, said in a statement, “Due to heavy workload, there was a confusion with regard to newborns delivered simultaneously. Both families staked claim for the male child, but later agreed to resolve the matter amicably. After due legal proceedings as per government guidelines, both families are willing to wait for results of the DNA tests. Due consent has been provided by both parties.”
The families will have to wait for a week for the results, officials said.
When asked about whose custody the newborns would be in until the families accept them, Deepak Foundation said, “The referral hospital has newborn stabilization units (NBSUs) with 24×7 professional doctors and nurses to take care of the children.”
A member of one of the families said, “Irresponsible conduct by the hospital staff has caused unnecessary mental agony to both the mothers and the families. It is unpardonable that the two newborn babies have to go through this because a nurse was daydreaming on duty. A simple question could have ensured that the issue did not come up. None of us have a problem if the baby girl is ours. All we want is complete clarity. We cannot trust the hospital for its verbal assurance after this.”.
Another family member said, “Our daughter told us that the doctor had informed her about the gender of the child after the delivery. So when she was given the other baby, she thought she had misunderstood the doctor and happily accepted the child… We agreed to the test to ensure that we don’t have any questions later.”
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