Mom Sues Hospital Over Breastfeeding Mixup

Her baby had to undergo a year of blood tests
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2016 4:25 PM CST
Mom Sues Hospital Over Breastfeeding Mixup
Three-week-old Kelsea Thomas snuggles with her mom, Brittany, during a Big Latch On event sponsored by Breastfeeding Bay: The Breastfeeding Task Force of Bay County and the Florida Department of Health in Bay County at the A.D. Harris Learning Village on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, in Panama City, Fla.   (Heather Leiphart/The News Herald via AP)

In early December 2012, Tammy Van Dyke of Apple Valley, Minn., gave birth to a healthy baby boy. But shortly before she was set to take baby Cody home from the hospital two days into his life, she learned that a nursery mix-up had resulted in another mother breastfeeding her child. This led to "unnecessary medical treatment, tests and expenses, and severe mental injury and emotional pain and suffering," according to a lawsuit she has just filed against Allina Health System's Abbott Northwestern Hospital, which has admitted to the mistake, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In the end, after a year of quarterly blood tests to ensure Cody had not been exposed to infectious diseases such as HIV, Cody came out in the clear.

When the mixup was announced in 2012, hospital spokeswoman Gloria O'Connell told ABC News at the time the tests were "just a precaution." But it was still "horrible," said Van Dyke, who is seeking at least $50,000, plus whatever compensation a court might decide. "Two nurses had to go in through veins in his tiny little arms." Meanwhile, the other mother, who'd had twins, reportedly told hospital staff who brought her Cody that she didn't think the baby was hers, reports KARE 11, but they assured her he was. Then she saw his anklet and discovered the mixup. "She was just as distraught as I was," Van Dyke says. Two months after the mixup, "we began using electronic identification bands for the mother and infant that must be matched when returning the infant to the mother," says an Abbott rep. (A baby switched at birth in 1994 was awarded $2 million.)

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