Mother sues hospital after her baby given to another woman to breastfeed

A US mother is suing a hospital for $67,000 after her baby was mistakenly brought to the wrong room and breastfed by another woman.

Baby Cody was born on December 3, 2012, at the Abbott Northwestern Hospital, in Minnesota, USA, and while his mother was sleeping, the infant was placed in a bassinet in the hospital's nursery, belonging to another baby.

When Tammy Van Dyke woke, hospital officials told her there was a mix-up and the newborn was mistakenly given to another woman to nurse.

Hospital staff checked on the two babies after the other mother, who had given birth to twins, later realised there may have been a mistake.

Tammy Van Dyke is suing the hospital where she gave birth after another woman was given her baby to breastfeed. Photo: CBS News

“She called the nurse and the nurse came and got my son from her, and then her son was missing for 20 minutes. He was in my son’s bassinet,” Ms Van Dyke told CBS news.

"She feels horrible and she didn't know where her baby was when she discovered that she had mine. She was just as distraught as I was."

The lawsuit filed in Hennepin County District Court is seeking $67,000 in damages for "unnecessary medical treatment, tests and expenses, and severe mental injury and emotional pain and suffering" as a result of the mishap, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Ms Van Dyke and her son have since undergone numerous disease tests for HIV, hepatitis and other illnesses as a precaution.


The woman said she would never get over the ordeal and does not want another mother to experience what she went through.

"Never in a million years would you think this could happen or would happen,” she told KSTP-TV at the time.

"My advice would be - and I'm sure this is a rare occurrence and never happens - is don't put your baby in the nursery because you don't know what could happen," she told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"You think you're going to get your baby back and you might not. I'm very lucky that I did get him back and everything was OK."

Shortly after the 2012 mix-up, the hospital admitted in a statement that procedures were not followed.

"While hospital procedures require staff to match codes on the infants and mothers identification bands in order to prevent incidents like this, it appears these procedures were not followed in this case."

In response to the lawsuit, the hospital's parent organisation Allina Health System said electronic identification bands had since been introduced at its Mother Baby Center to match each mother with her baby.