Mom Sues New Jersey Hospital For Baby Swapping Mistake; She Breastfeeds A Different Baby For 20 Minutes

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 14, 04:00 am
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Melissa Richman has filed a lawsuit against The Valley Hospital for giving her the wrong baby to breastfeed.
(Photo : Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

A mother has filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey hospital for a baby swapping mistake. Melissa Richman, 29, breastfed the wrong newborn at the maternity ward for almost 20 minutes after a nurse gave her a different child.

It would have been Richman's first feeding time with her baby. The mistake, however, robbed the mother of the chance to provide her newborn with colostrum, which was supposed to boost the infant with antibodies. So, she's seeking damages against The Valley Hospital via the lawsuit, according to Working Mother.

CBS New York reported Richman gave birth to baby Scarlet in September through C-section and was then ushered to breastfeed her newborn. The nurse, however, returned to her after 20 minutes of feeding. The nurse told the new mom there had been a mistake with the babies and she was handed Scarlet this time around.

"They immediately put her right on me, and they didn't clean me off so I started worrying about the saliva and stuff from the other baby," Richman said. The hospital also made the mother undergo some tests to rule out any infection. The mother's 87-page medical file on her labor, delivery and postpartum care, however, did not include the baby swapping breastfeeding mistake, NBC New York reports.

Worse, when Scarlet was breastfeeding, the baby became "frustrated and upset" because Richman's milk was already depleted by the first baby. The family also did not have any idea whose baby was it that Richman fed or if that baby's parents were aware of what happened.

"It should be inconceivable that something like this could happen," Richman's husband David told the media. The whole experience has made the Richmans feel horrible.

The family wants the hospital to be liable for the mistake. The Valley Hospital, however, has not made any comment on the lawsuit as of press time.

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