A new born baby will have to undergo a year of medical tests for HIV and hepatitis because he was accidentally put in the wrong bassinette by a Minnapolis hospital and then breastfed by the wrong mother.
The mix-up happened Wednesday in Abbott Northwestern Hospital when Tammy Van Dyke's little boy Cody was accidentally switched to the wrong bassinette in the nursery.
"You put your baby in the nursery, not even 48-hours old, and you think they're safe," Van Dyke told ABC News today. "I'm holding it together. I'm just in disbelief, and it was like I was in a dream, a bad dream, and I couldn't get it to stop."
Van Dyke was told two hours after the switch happened, just hours before she was going to take Cody home.
The infant had to undergo blood testing for HIV and hepatitis immediately following the switch.
"It was horrible," Van Dyke said. "Two nurses had to go in through veins in his tiny little arms."
Although the tests came back negative, Abbott Northwestern Hospital told Van Dyke her newborn son would have to undergo blood testing every three months for a year.
Hospital spokeswoman Gloria O'Connell said the tests were "just a precaution," but declilned to elaborate because of patient confidentiality.
Van Dyke was able to speak with the other mother, who had to wait 20 minutes before her baby, Liam, was located.
"It gave me peace of mind to talk to her," Van Dyke said. "She was just as distraught as me that this happened to her, and in the meantime, also didn't know where her baby was. She has twins."
Van Dykes, who also has a 2-year-old, said the homecoming shortly after wasn't what she thought it would be.
"I imagined getting up and getting ready and having Cody in the car with his big brother and coming home as a happy family," Van Dyke said. "We were going to videotape the homecoming, showing his room, and I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't put myself together, because it wasn't what I had imagined all this time."
In an apology letter given to her, the hospital states:
"Please accept this letter with our sincerest apologies for what occurred today at the hospital, that in the nursery your newborn son was placed in the wrong bassinette and then was taken to the wrong mother and breastfed. The hospital agrees to pay for the additional testing that you had done today and will also pay for the tests recommended for your son related to this incident up to one year."
And in a press release from Abbott Northwestern, practicing obstetrician and Chief Clinical Officer of Allina Health, Dr. Penny Wheeler, said, "As an obstetrician, I have personally seen verification of the infant's identifying name band matched correctly with the mother's on hundreds of occasions. It is extremely unfortunate that was not the case this time. We sincerely apologize to the involved families and will make certain we understand why our procedures were not appropriately followed in this case."
"I will be thankful to God when this year's over and he's cleared all his health tests and we don't have to think about this again," Van Dyke said.
- Abbott Northwestern Hospital