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Another baby mix-up?
published: Saturday | June 14, 2003

ANOTHER PUBLIC hospital is in the hot seat, following claims by a 32-year-old woman that she was given the wrong baby by the Victoria Jubilee Hospital. The baby mix-up, brought to public attention, is reportedly being resolved by a DNA test.

The mix-up allegedly occurred on Wednesday, when the mother, Janet Edwards, gave birth to a seven-pound child. According to media reports, Ms. Edwards was shown a male baby immediately after she gave birth, but was later presented with a female baby by hospital personnel.

DNA test results are expected within two weeks and, according to news reports, the hospital has decided to keep the infant until its parentage is confirmed.

The Gleaner tried without success to contact the hospital administrators last night.

Ms Cameron said there were several reasons why the bodies remained in the morgue for extended periods. These include the babies' mothers often leaving the hospital without signing a consent form which gives the hospital legal permission to bury a child. "If the mother has not signed a consent form, we can only assume she is coming back to bury her child," Ms Cameron said.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Lyn estimated that of every 300 infant bodies received by the parlour, only about five are taken and buried by their parents.

Regarding the 'Baby Pansy' case involving the Clarendon couple, Mrs. Lyn said the parlour also carried out investigations to see who collected the body of the infant but without success.

In 1997, when the morgue at the Mandeville Hospital became inoperable, Lyn's Funeral Home was contracted to store the bodies of persons who had died at the hospital, until arrangements were made for their disposal.

However, according to Mr. Lyn, the bodies of babies are stored based on "an agreement" given that the funeral home does not charge for their storage.

Like her husband, Mrs. Lyn said the mix-up could not have occurred at the parlour because the hospitals tag all bodies. She said when bodies arrive, they are then placed in a refrigerator and are not removed unless the hospital sends someone over with a list of the bodies they intend to remove from the facility.

According to her, more than 20 babies are taken from the facility at one time and since the Baby Pansy case, new measures are implemented in which bodies are now placed in a plastic bag to ensure that if tags fall off, they can be easily retrieved.

Acting regional director at the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Dr. Michael Coombs, on Thursday declined to respond to concerns that the corpses of babies at Lyn's Funeral Home were piled up before hospital officials collected them for disposal.

"It is too close to the (controversial) case," he said, adding that the panel which has been set up to probe the case of the missing baby would address the reasons for the pile-up. "We have been instructed not to make any comment that could pre-empt the study," he said.

* (Additional reporting done by Trudy Simpson and Damion Mitchell, staff reporters)



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