The Law Offices of John Phebus

Doctors perform surgery on wrong baby in Tennessee

Arizona parents may be dismayed to learn that doctors performed surgery on the wrong baby at a Tennessee hospital. The incident occurred at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, just outside Nashville.

According to media reports, a mother delivered a healthy baby boy at the hospital. Not long after his delivery, medical staff took him away for what his mother believed was a routine checkup. However, once the baby was returned, his mother discovered doctors had performed a frenulectomy on him, which involves clipping the flap of skin beneath an infant's tongue. It is performed when the flap is too tight, which can cause breast-feeding or speech difficulties. The problem occurs in approximately 5 percent of newborns.

Another baby at the hospital had been scheduled to have the frenulectomy, but the healthy baby boy was accidentally given the procedure. The doctor who was responsible for the error admitted his mistake and apologized for the incident. It is not known if the baby will have feeding or speech problems because he wrongly received the procedure. The family's attorney told the media that there was "no excuse" for mixing up the babies. The University Medical Center declined media requests for a comment.

Newborns who are the victims of a surgical error can experience a lifetime of subsequent medical issues. The parents of such an infant may want to meet with an attorney in order to learn about their legal options. After a review of the medical records and other evidence, the attorney may recommend filing a hospital negligence lawsuit against the facility that would seek compensation for current and future medical expenses and other applicable damages.

Source: CNN, "Parents: Hospital performed surgery on the wrong baby," Amanda Jackson, Feb. 10, 2016

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