A mother is suing the hospital for emotional damage after staff mixed up two infants and gave her baby to another woman to breastfeed.
Tammy Van Dyke, from Minneapolis, gave birth at Abbott Northwestern Hospital when her two-day-old son, Cody, was mistakenly placed in the care of a mum of twin newborns.
The suit said the Dec. 5, 2012, mix-up led to “unnecessary medical treatment, tests and expenses, and severe mental injury and emotional pain and suffering.”
In response, Abbott hospital acknowledged the mistake, saying it appears the staff failed to follow procedure of matching codes on the infants’ and mothers’ identification bands, According to The Star Tribune .
Two months later, Abbott instituted a new procedure using higher-tech identification bands to avoid further mix-ups.
The new system displays a green light to tell the nurse that the mother and baby match.
Van Dyke gave birth to son Cody Stepp on Dec. 3, 2012, and the boy was handed over to another mother in the center and breast-fed, the suit said. Cody was wearing three hospital ID bracelets with the proper identification on his ankle, according to his mother.
A few days after the late-night mistake, Van Dyke said that Cody and the other woman, who had given birth to twins, were given blood tests to make sure they were not exposed to any infectious diseases, such as hepatitis or HIV, that can be transmitted through breast milk.
All the tests were negative, she said — but Cody had retesting scheduled every three months for a year.
The suit seeks more than $50,000 and whatever other compensation a court might find proper for Van Dyke.
Her attorney, Wayne Jagow,said they decided to sue after negotiations for a settlement failed.
“We had attempted to get some sort of dialogue going with Abbott/Allina over the last year to handle this quietly and they simply refused.”
Jagow also said Van Dyke was not told of any changes to procedures to prevent this from happening to other families.