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Saturday, Sep 24, 2022

Teaching hospital in Hong Kong under scrutiny after staff give mother wrong baby

Teaching hospital in Hong Kong under scrutiny after staff give mother wrong baby

Baby was briefly given to wrong mother for breastfeeding, with spokesman for CUHK Medical Centre saying employee immediately realised mistake and handed child to correct parent.
Health authorities in Hong Kong have launched an investigation into why a newborn was given to the wrong mother for breastfeeding at a private hospital run by Chinese University.

The Department of Health on Monday said it had also requested the CUHK Medical Centre, a non-profit facility in Sha Tin that opened last year, to conduct its own investigation and produce a report on the incident within four weeks.

The mix-up occurred on Friday when a hospital employee mistakenly brought the newborn to the bedside of another baby’s mother.

A spokesman for the centre said the worker had realised the mistake within minutes, with the newborn immediately handed to the right mother. The hospital apologised to both families involved, he added.

“The hospital has also set up a group for an investigation and will submit a detailed report within four weeks,” he said, adding that health officials on Monday morning had visited the ward involved in the incident as part of their inquiries.

But the centre, the first private teaching hospital to be wholly owned by a university, stopped short of saying whether the mother had started breastfeeding the baby before the mix-up was discovered.

The baby received a check-up after the incident, with no abnormal health signs being detected, the spokesman said. He added that the hospital had provided a detailed explanation of the incident to both families.

The children and their mothers were discharged from the centre on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The spokesman also said the employee involved had been suspended from newborn care duties, while the hospital had reminded staff of the correct procedures and strengthened its clinical supervision.

Competency assessments would be conducted during the month for all frontline workers from the relevant ward to reinforce the correct maternal identification process and prevent future incidents, the centre said.

The hospital followed protocol and reported the error to the Department of Health within four hours, followed by a detailed explanation the day after, the spokesman said.

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