Seven babies given to wrong mums for breastfeeding in NSW hospitals

Melissa Hills

Calls have been made for a list of NSW hospitals to be made public after it was revealed seven newborn babies were given to the wrong mothers to be breastfed.

The shocking mix ups, which could have led to serious health risks, have taken place over the last four years in cases of mistaken identity.

Despite Health Minister Jillian Skinner trying to alleviate fears saying mix ups are 'extremely rare', mothers have still expressed shock and worry.

Stefanie's newborn daughter was given to another woman and breastfed for two hours. Photo: Facebook
Health minister Jillian Skinner. Photo: Supplied
Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord wants the list of hospitals to be made public. Photo: Twitter

According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act all the incidents occurred in public hospitals, there were none in the private sector.

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said he wanted the hospitals where the mix ups occurred to be revealed, calling it 'every new mum's worst nightmare'.

Stefanie Phillips, 22, of Bateau Bay told 7 News last year that her little girl Ellie had been breastfed by another woman for two hours and got photos with her.

Stef and daughter Ellie. Photo: 7 News

Details of the incident at Gosford Hospital were revealed in November.

Stepfanie said: "I was very overwhelmed, I didn't know what to say having just become a new mum."

Stef and Ellianne. Photo: 7 News

At the time the local health executive confirmed the claims and said that both families saying both families had received personal apologies.

The mix up at Gosford came just a couple of weeks after a similar case at Royal North Shore Private Hospital which was also put down to human error.

Jillian Skinner MP Minister for Health said in a statement: “It is an extremely rare occurrence for a baby to be handed to the wrong mother in a NSW public hospital.

“Almost 100,000 babies are born in NSW public hospitals each year and over the past five years there were seven occasions where this error
occurred. The error was soon discovered.

“NSW Health has strict protocols in place for the identification of newborns in public hospitals and the separation of mothers and babies.
These protocols are regularly reinforced with midwifery staff.

“In the rare cases where an error occurs, immediate serological tests and breast milk screening are undertaken. The affected mothers are
offered counselling and support.

“There has been no $3 billion cut to the NSW health budget - this is a Labor lie.

“The health budget for 2015-16 is a record $21 billion. This comprises $19.6 billion in recurrent spending - up $976 million, or 5.2 per cent, on the
previous year - and $1.4 billion for capital works.”