Hospital re-educates staff after newborns switched

A Texas hospital said Friday it has re-educated staff on patient identification procedures after two newborns were accidentally switched for about three hours following circumcisions, reports the Associated Press.

Kevin and Susan Dunagan said they noticed when their son was returned from the procedure that his lips looked fuller, but they didn’t realize what had happened till a worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano discovered the mix-up.

The Dallas Morning News reported the infants had been circumcised at about the same time last month and their code numbers — 27988 and 27980 — were similar. They were placed in the wrong cribs in the nursery when they came back from the surgeries. 

A volunteer then brought the baby in the Dunagan crib to Susan Dunagan, checking their bracelets, but the mix-up wasn’t discovered till a hospital worker came in to perform a hearing test and typed in the baby’s bracelet code.

The Dunagans’ son was quickly found with the other baby’s family, who also thought they had the correct newborn.

“You don’t think something like this is really possible today,” Kevin Dunagan said. “You think it’s something in a movie or 30 years ago or something.”

Since Susan Dunagan breastfed the infant she had cared for, his family asked that she be tested for communicable diseases, which the Dunagans said they understood.

Administrators apologized for the switch and met several times with the couple.

Hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Erickson told The Associated Press on Friday that “human error caused our safety checks to not work as planned. However, redundancies built into our processes caught the error shortly after it occurred with no harm to either mother or infant.”

She said in addition to the re-education of staff, volunteers are no longer transporting newborns back to the room.

Kevin Dunagan wrote to a columnist with The Dallas Morning News when he got a bill after being told the hospital would look into waiving their costs. After being contacted by the columnist, the Dunagans were told bills for the mother and son would be waived and the hospital would also pay for counseling.

Erickson said the hospital had expressed from the beginning that the family’s bill would be covered and it was erroneously sent to the family.

 

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