‘Human error’ leads to temporary baby switch at Rabin Medical Center

Ethiopian Jewish baby and baby born to Eritrean migrant accidentally switched at birth; hospital says "under thorough investigation."

July 30, 2013 18:24
1 minute read.
Empty hospital corridor [illustrative]

Hospital beds 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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The Health Ministry has begun to investigate an incident in which two black newborns – on Ethiopian Jewish baby and one born to an Eritrean migrant – were accidentally switched for a short time at Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva.

The ministry spokeswoman said: “We are waiting for the full report to understand the factors involved in the incident so we can make any necessary decisions. The ministry’s patient safety unit and medial administration will examine the existing directives to ensure that this is an exceptional incident and that there is no reason to refresh existing ones.”

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Yediot Aharonot reported on Tuesday that a Petah Tikva resident of Ethiopian Jewish origin, named Hadar, gave birth and hugged the baby she had given birth to. The male infant was admitted to the neonatal ward.

When her husband, Yossi, went to the nursery to see the boy, the nurses refused to let him take the infant to his wife to nurse.

The nurses, according to Yediot, insisted the baby was “ill” and would have to undergo tests before the parents could see him.

When he returned to his wife’s room, he found Hadar was resting comfortably, breastfeeding a baby; Yossi knew immediately it wasn’t their own, especially as another man ran in claiming that the infant was his own son. It turned out that somewhere between the delivery room and the maternity ward, someone had given Hadar a baby who was born on the same day to an Eritrean migrant couple, the Hebrew newspaper said. Someone mistakenly switched them.

Hadar and her son were discharged from the hospital on Sunday, while the migrant couple received theirs. Blood tests had been performed to make sure the babies were given to the right parents. Both sets of parents demanded a detailed explanation of how the error occurred.

The Petah Tikva hospital said it deeply regretted the incident, which resulted from human error. “A member of the staff acted in violation of our working orders. The subject is under thorough investigation,” it said.

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