Parents traumatised after maternity ward mix-up

Karen O'Sullivan

FIRST ON 7: The parents of a newborn baby are demanding answers after they were given the wrong infant in a mix-up at a Melbourne hospital.

Samantha Stuhlener gave birth to her son Levi at St Vincent’s Private Hospital but was mistakenly given somebody else’s child after a midwife failed to cross check identification wrist bands.

She spent 45 minutes with the baby before nurses realised a mistake had been made.

“I said what’s happened, what’s going on? And she said, you didn’t have Levi, you had somebody else baby,” she told 7News.

Staff told Samantha and her partner Nick their baby had remained in the overnight settling room during the time they spent with the other newborn.

But the couple believe they have not been given the full story.

“I don’t believe that,” Samantha told 7News.

“I don’t know, was she with another mother?”

Hospital staff say baby Levi remained in the settling room during the mix-up.

The CEO of St Vincent’s hospital, Ian Grisold, confirmed there had been a mix-up.

“It is extremely regrettable and staff and myself [are] guttered by the incident,” he said.

But that wasn't the only mistake.

An apology letter and vouchers worth $500 were sent to the parents of the other baby, but the letter was wrongly posted to Samantha and Nick.

“I acknowledge that we made an administration error sending the wrong correspondence to the wrong family," Mr Grisold said.

“We unreservedly apologise and take full responsibility.”

But the hospital is still refusing to hand over an incident report that is believed to contain critical information about the whereabouts of baby Levi during the hour Samantha and Nick spent with the other infant.

Samantha says Levi didn't take to breastfeeding after his birth.

Samantha and Nick say they are desperate to know the truth.

“That’s all we wanted to see... what was written in the incident report and see what actually happened,” Samantha said.

“We just want to make sure they put some actions in place so this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Nick added.

The couple say they have reached out to the parents of the other child, who told them they have also been left traumatised by the ordeal.

Samantha said Levi was unsettled for several weeks after his birth and that she had trouble bonding with him.

Mr Grisold said the hospital has improved procedures since the incident.

Two staff members are now required to cross check both the mother and baby’s name tags when moving babies to and from the settling room.

News break – March 24