Any baby mix-ups ever reported?

As far as I know, when mothers give birth at a hospital, the baby is taken away to be washed etc. Then, they affix some sort of label to identify the baby.

Since all babies look the same, 1) it might be possible to mis-label them 2) if such a thing happens, the mother has no way of telling.

Have they ever mis-labeled a baby in a clinic?

It’s definitely happened. There was a case a few years ago where a couple had a child who was around nine years old. She died of a rare disease that could only be passed down genetically making it impossible for her to be their natural child. They looked into it and found out about the hospital screw up. Her natural daughter was with a different couple and was the spitting image of the natural Mom. Ugly court case followed.

I wish I could cite this but my memory is sketchy. It was big news around ten years ago.


all babies do not come close to looking alike. my two kids, as babies, were as different as could be. even their skin looked a different shade. maybe one was switched :wink:

but seriously, they don’t all look alike.

OK. I found a cite.

Here is an article about a different mix-up than the one to which I referred. In that article they mention the case that I remembered.


When Caterpie was born they put hospital bracelets on him in my presence, one around his ankle and the other around his wrist, that matched my bracelet. He was taken away for a bath afterwards while they settled me in the room and was brought back right away. While in the hospital except for his bath and when I took a shower he wasn’t away from me at all.

It’s because of the rare (thankfully) cases like what hajario links to that they now put on two bracelets in the mothers presence. Also, when the babies are taken away for stuff like baths (and sometimes other reasons for example if you had a c-section they stay in the nursery bought are brought regularly for feeding so you can recover) they check the bracelets when they are brought back to be sure the mother has her own child.

I read a book on the Arlena Twigg/Kimberly Mayes switch. The theory was that the Mayes engineered the baby switch to trade their daughter, who had a heart defect, for a healthy child. While Regina Twigg found out that Arlena’s blood type did not match her and or her husband’s two years before her death, she made no effort to find out why until after the child had died.

Robert Mayes was portrayed as “benefiting” from the switch, though he never got to know his only genetic child. After his genetic daughter died, then the Twiggs tried to get custody of Kimberly.

Here is an update on Kimberly Mays. What a sad life.

Can anyone find a link to the story where a white couple received a biracial (black and white) baby? Their biological child was given up for adoption and the mix-up was discovered when the father asked for a paternity test during the couple’s divorce. The mother then adopted the child she’d been raising, and sued for custody of the boy who had been adopted at birth by the other couple.

Here is a quote from the site that Annie-Xmas posted:

*Kimberly’s friends and relatives say she sometimes blamed the way she lives her life on being switched at birth, on alleged abuse that occurred before the switch was discovered and on her biological family’s reentry into her life. *

I’d nominate that for the understatement of the decade award.

Damn that must be incredibly traumatic to learn you’ve been living with the wrong family for ten years of your life.

It’s been a while since I did a search for Kimberly Mays (yes I am interested in how she’s coping (or not) with life). I know for a while that she herself had chosen to live with her unintentionally “adopted” family. Then she chose to live with her biological family. Then I think she lived at the YWCA for a while. The last time I read about her, I knew she was married and accused of child abuse but no charges had been brought.

I was unaware of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ story or the fact she now is involved in prostitution.

A very sad story.

I’ve got a (possibly stupid) question for parents of identical twins.

How soon can you tell them apart after birth? I’ve always wondered if maybe during the first few days, due to exhaustion and the stress of dealing with two newborns instead of one that the babies might get mixed up before the parent learns to tell them apart. So the baby that might have been named David gets mixed up and eventually grows up being Daniel.

My step-father’s neice has identical triplet girls. I was in her part of the country when the kids were just a few months old and got to see them. She could not only tell them apart by looking at them. She could tell them apart by hearing their cries from across the room.

According to her, they kept the hospital bracelets on for the first few days and then they painted their finger nails different colors. The distinction is very important when keeping track of who is getting fed when. Finally, each new born gets a foot print taken. Like finger prints, they are unique even between indenticals.


I’ve only had 2 children, but this is one reason why I was glad to be completely un-medicated at their birth. I saw them immediately, and knew exactly what they looked like. There is no way I would have mistaken any other baby for the one I gave birth to.

Curiously, I just Thursday got back from the maternity ward with the newest little Chanclet. She’s 5 days old right now.

Small, well-equiped hospital in small town, rural Ohio.

And high tech as all get out when it comes to security.

Baby born.
Bracelet on arm identifying baby with serial number.
Identical bracelet on mother. No bracelet for father. The baby always points to the mother.
FIVE hospital staff of Nurse or Doctor rank have to certify the baby and mothers serial numbers before the baby can leave the birthing room.
Braceley placed on babies ankle. This bracelet is a radio transponder. No active transponder (i.e. attached to a baby) can approach any of the three deep exit doors. If they get within 10 feet the doors lock shut and cannot then be opened without multiple OKs from hospital staff. (Good thing there wasn’t a fire.)
Baby does NOT stay in the nursery except for shots and blood drawing and such. Evaluation (gestational age, jaundice, etc) are done in the birthing or recovery room with the parents present.
If the parents wish to escort the baby for medical work (aforementioned evaluations and such) they are allowed.
If the parents don’t wish to accompany then two medical professionals will certify the baby’s identity upon return.

Whew. By the time I was through with that it was like getting a security clearance again. In fact, I’ve had a better-than-top-secret clearance and it wasn’t that bad walking around the state department!

There was an embryo switch at a fertility clinic between a black Teaneck NJ couple and a white Long Island couple. The mix-up wasn’t discovered till after the babies were born, and both were eventually returned to their genetic parents.

During the famous “Baby M” custody trial, Mary Beth Whitehead insisted on genetic testing of Baby M, claiming that she could have been the genetic child of her vascetomied husband, or “the clinic might have mixed up and given me the sperm from another donor.”

Jonathan I assume most of that is to prevent the baby from being kidnapped right?

I know we didn’t have that much security up here, but we were warned to not let the baby go with anyone who didn’t have valid hospital ID and if you weren’t sure you could refuse and ask another nurse to verify. As well for the drawing of blood and such that was all done with you there. They didn’t do footprints though. Like I said, the only time my son was away from me was when he went to the bath and when I went to have a shower, and even then my Mom was with him when I wasn’t.

Oh and congrats on the Chanclet :slight_smile:

The radio transponder was meant to prevent baby-stealing, yes. The nurse-instuctor at our birth class specifically told us that the rest of it was designed to prevent accidental baby-switches.

My friend couldn’t tell her identical twins apart at 4 months of age, and as far as I know (coming up seven months) she still relies on dressing them differently and painting their toenails to tell one from the other.

Twin 1
Twin 2

My sister reported that her baby did not leave her, or my mom’s, sight for one second. All tests and blood was taken in the recovery room.

down here in the wild ma<s>rsh</s>ll lands of Florida, they did three bracelets and a lo-jack. I c-sectioned but my husband stayed with the kid till he was jacked up.

of course, we were the heaviest baby delivered all week by at least a pound so that didn’t hurt much either.

How about the case of Callie Johnson and Rebecca Grace Chittum who were switched at birth in 1995 at the University of Virginia Medical Center. The hospital fucked up big time. This is a really sad story…

One mother was a single 30-year-old and the other mother gave birth at 16 and later married the baby’s father. Later, when the girls were about 3, the young couple died in a car crash and the grandparents took care of the little girl. Later, when it was discovered the babies were switched, it sparked off a contentious custody battle…