Letter of the Day (Dec. 13): Getting the wrong baby

  • Updated: December 12, 2012 - 8:05 PM

When it all hinges on one person, mistakes will happen.


Tammy was happy to be home with Cody who got a fresh outfit and a new pair of socks. Tammy Van Dyke gave birth to her second son, Cody, on Monday Dec. 3. On Wednesday, shortly before she was to take him home, she learned there had been a mixup overnight - someone had put Cody in the wrong bassinet, and he had been wheeled to another mother (who had given birth to twins) and was breast-fed for a short time before the other woman noticed the baby's hospital ID had Tammy's name on it. Thursday, December 6, 2012.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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In June 2000, I gave birth to my son at Abbott Northwestern hospital. The day after his birth, an aide brought a baby boy from the hospital nursery and left him with me without checking the name on his tag against mine. After she left, when I went to nurse him, I realized just in time that she'd brought me the wrong baby.

I called urgently to the triage area, and the nurses intervened quickly to straighten out the mixup. In the aftermath, Abbott fired the aide who'd brought me the wrong baby, saying that this resolved the problem. The hospital's administrators missed the point -- they had a critical process that was wholly reliant on one person doing her job well -- and in my situation, it only took this one point of failure.

I pressed my concern with Abbott, but to no avail. I was sorry to hear about the mixup with Cody Van Dyke, and my heart goes out to all those who were affected ("Baby is brought to wrong mom for feeding," Dec. 7). I can't say, however, that I was surprised. What a difference 12 years haven't made.


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