19-Year-Old Woman Seeks Compensation After She Discovers She Was Switched at Birth in Hospital Error: Report

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When the woman was 16, she sought legal counsel with a lawyer, Jose Saez-Morga, who said the teenager asked Saez-Morga, “Tell me who I am.”

A 19-year-old Spanish woman who discovered she was accidentally given to the wrong parents after birth, is seeking $3.5 million in compensation from the country’s health authorities who are blaming human error for the mix-up, according to La Rioja, which first reported the story.

The woman, who was not identified, was born at the San Millan hospital of Logrono, Spain, located south of Bilbao, in 2002, on the same day another baby was born, La Rioja reported.

Both babies, who were born within hours of each other, had been underweight and were transferred from the delivery room of the Neonatal unit to the incubator room before being handed to the wrong parents, the news outlet said.

 “It was a human error and we haven’t been able to find out who was to blame,” Community Health Minister Sara Alba, of Spain’s northern La Rioja region, said at a news conference on Tuesday,  the Associated Press reported. 

She added, “The systems back then were different and weren’t as computerized as they are now,” she said. 

Alba said it would be “impossible for something like this to happen again today because procedures for identifying babies were “safe and reliable,” the BBC reported. 

Meanwhile, at this time the ministry is only offering the woman compensation of approximately $255,000 (€215,000), the BBC reported.

According to a report, the teenager had been raised by a woman she assumed was her grandmother, the BBC reported. 

In 2017, the grandmother sued the girl’s presumed father over childcare. After the court ordered a DNA test, the test revealed that the man was not the teen's biological father. A later test confirmed that the girl’s presumed mother was not the teenager's biological mother, the news outlet said.

When the woman was 16, she sought legal counsel with a lawyer, Jose Saez-Morga, who said the teenager asked Saez-Morga, “Tell me who I am.” Saez-Morga went to the La Rioja Health Inspection and began the investigation into the alleged mix-up. At the time, there were 17 other girls whose births coincided with the plaintiff. However, the investigation, which included blood tests indicated that there was only one baby the girl could have been switched with, El Pais Newspaper reported. 

The other woman involved, who was also given to the wrong parents, has been informed of the mistake, but has not made a complaint, according to the Government of La Rioja, according to the news outlet. 

The hospital where the mishap took place no longer exists, La Rioja reported. 

As prosecutors continue to investigate the case, the 19-year-old is awaiting the result of a DNA test to confirm the identity of her biological parents, the BBC reported.

The Health Minister said the regional government would respect the legal process and offer the families whatever support they needed, the news outlet said. 

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