Tuesday, 25 June, 2024
HomeNews UpdateCape Town hospital baby switch discovered 14 years later

Cape Town hospital baby switch discovered 14 years later

Two Cape Town families have discovered that their sons, now aged 14, were accidentally swopped at birth at a local hospital – and are both being raised in the same neighbourhood.

An inquiry was launched last year, reports the Sunday Times, and authorities say they are investigating the incident.

The mix-up was discovered after the father of one of the boys, embroiled in a maintenance dispute with the mother, questioned the boy’s paternity because there was little physical resemblance between them. The man insisted on a DNA test, which proved he was not the father. The woman then also had a DNA test, which showed she was not the mother.

The woman said she was told in June that her biological son was being raised in the same neighbourhood.

“I have bonded with the child I have, but nevertheless, I want to see my blood,” she said, adding she also wanted to meet the couple raising her biological son.

The man involved told the Sunday Times that the thought of his child being raised elsewhere caused him sleepless nights.

“A social worker contacted me to say the boy had been found and that they had been switched at birth. She said he is is ours psychologically, but biologically he belongs to the other parent, and vice versa. She said she would call both families to a meeting. Words cannot express how much this has disrupted my life.

“Knowing that my child is being raised by someone else haunts me.”

He said he was excited about meeting his biological child but admitted that “the path forward” would not be easy.

“I am worried he has been raised differently and that we might struggle to have a parent-child bond with him,” he said. “But at the same time, I feel we should not disturb him now and let him concentrate on his studies, and tell him when he is 18. I just want to (meet) the family that raised him and keep communicating.

“I know how such things derail a kid’s education. It’s a trauma.”

He said he had considered suing the hospital.

In a joint statement, the Western Cape Departments of Health and Social Development said they had been alerted last September to the “alleged incident which happened in 2008, and immediately started with an investigation, which included extensive counselling by a psychologist to the known mother. This investigation is ongoing.”

The departments said this was an “isolated incident, with the circumstances around it still unclear”.

“Both departments are cognisant of the trauma this has caused and will continue to provide counselling and psychological support. The Department of Health has stringent measures in place to ensure the correct baby is handed to the correct mother at our facilities. We are fully co-operative to see this investigation through until the end.

“Through the social development processes, both families must reach a mutual agreement about the way forward. If this doesn’t happen, a court process will follow to determine the way forward.”

 

Sunday Times PressReader article – Family in turmoil at learning of baby switch (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Baby-swop mother has to attach 400 Gauteng Health desks and chairs

 

Gauteng Health stalls R5m claim over alleged baby swap

 

Baby mix-up – Durban hospital staff disciplined

 

Gauteng Health staff to be disciplined for swapping newborns

 

Switched at birth…

 

 

 

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