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Ca. Newborns Accidentally Switched

February 16, 1999

ORANGE, Calif. (AP) _ Two newborn boys were switched at the hospital and one went home with the wrong mother for an hour before the officials discovered the error.

Four nurses at St. Joseph Hospital were placed on administrative leave after the mistake was discovered Sunday, officials said Monday.

``We deeply regret this error and are putting additional safeguards into place to ensure that this does not happen again,″ hospital spokesman Larry Ainsworth said.

Babies and mothers at the Orange County hospital wear identification wristbands. A nurse and the mother must indicate the names on the bands match up before the patient can be discharged, Ainsworth said.

But a nurse and one mother apparently failed to notice a mismatch when she received the infant and was sent home Sunday afternoon. An hour later, the hospital realized the mistake after the other mother noticed her wristband did not match the one of the baby she was holding.

Iliana Bravo then was called and told the child she had taken home and breast fed was not hers.

``I started shaking. ... I was panicking,″ Iliana Bravo said Monday. ``It’s a good thing that we found out earlier. What would happen if we (found) out 20 years ... from now?″

She returned to the hospital, and DNA testing confirmed that this time she had the right child.

Ainsworth said hospital policy will require that two nurses, rather than one, will check the wristbands before new mothers are discharged.

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