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Carole Meekins: Positively Milwaukee

Serious Mistake

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If you think you had a bad day..imagine this poor family. This came down on the Associate Press wires earlier today, and I could not help but feel bad for all involved. Carole German clinic mixed up 2 infant girls; trying to find right parents BERLIN (AP) -- Two newborn girls were mistakenly switched at a clinic in southwestern Germany and went home with the wrong parents, and doctors are trying to correct the mistake, authorities said Friday. The mix-up, which occurred at the St. Elisabeth clinic in Saarlouis this summer, only recently came to light after one of the fathers took a paternity test, area councilwoman Monika Bachmann said. His wife then took a test and it was confirmed that she was not the girl's mother, according to a report in the top-selling Bild newspaper. The clinic is now trying to find out who the real parents are, said St. Elisabeth's director, Franz-Josef Backes. A total of 14 families are possibilities, and blood and DNA tests are being done to resolve the matter, he said. Results from those tests could take one to two weeks. "It is really a terrible time for the parents, to be left hanging like that," Backes said. The woman who took home the wrong baby is under 24-hour supervision by health service counselors, Bachmann said. "It is a very difficult situation," she said. Mathias Uhlig, the head doctor at the clinic, said there is a possibility that the children were somehow mixed up outside the clinic, given that the only other children born on the same day were two boys. He also noted that the mother had her photo taken with her infant, who already had the standard plastic identification band on her arm, he said. Still, the clinic is examining all of its procedures to see where the error may have occurred, Uhlig said. In a separate case in the Czech Republic, two families near Prague this week were going through the difficult process of swapping their nearly 1-year-old baby girls after tests revealed they had been mistakenly switched at birth. After weeks of visits to help the families adjust, the girls went home to their biological parents on Monday, the Lidove Noviny daily reported Tuesday. The clinic in Trebic, 100 miles southeast of Prague, where the mix-up took place called it a "regrettable" case and a result of "serious mistakes" made by two nurses who since have been fired. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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