Babies in Queensland hospitals being mixed up and wrongly tagged

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NEWBORN babies in Queensland are being regularly mixed up and wrongly tagged, with some errors taking days to fix.

In one case, a mother had to have HIV and other tests after being given the wrong baby to breastfeed.

The blunders have more than doubled in three years, with staff blaming distractions, poor communication and increasing workloads.

... Parents or Queensland Health staff found almost half of them had no tags or all three tags with the wrong name, mother's name or patient number. "(The) wrong baby was taken to the mother," ...

Another case took four days to solve after a baby was transferred from Townsville Hospital to Cairns Hospital. The baby arrived in Cairns with no tags and weighing 160g less than when it left after staff in Townsville failed to conduct routine ID checks for three days before the transfer.

"The baby has been identified as certain as possible at this point in time," staff said on October 2, 2006, after checking every baby at both hospitals. The identity was finally confirmed on October 5.

... Australian College of Midwives state executive officer Jenny Gamble said the errors were a result of an understaffed system requiring urgent restructure.

... The FOI documents show the number of cases reported jumped from 27 in 2006 to 55 in 2007 and 57 last year.

Another reason to birth at home!

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448