Parents: Hospital performed surgery on the wrong baby

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By Amanda Jackson


(CNN) — For most, the birth of your child is a moment you will never forget.

What was supposed to be a time of celebration turned into a nightmare for one Tennessee family.

During the family’s hospital stay, their newborn was mistaken for another child and surgery was performed on him.

The Melton family delivered a healthy baby boy named, Nate, at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, near Nashville. Soon after his birth, Jennifer Melton, Nate’s mother, thought he was going for a routine checkup. But when he was returned she broke down crying hysterically when she found out what happened

to her baby.

“The nurse started to mention the procedure they had done that they had clipped his tongue,” Melton told CNN affiliate WTVF.

The healthy baby boy had a procedure called a frenulectomy, where the flap of skin under the child’s tongue is cut. The procedure is done when the flap of skin is too tight and can cause feeding and speech problems. About 5% of all babies have some form of tongue-tie. It can cause complications, including breast-feeding issues for newborns.

“It’s recklessness. There’s no excuse for cutting on a healthy child. There’s no excuse for mixing up babies at a hospital,” Clint Kelly, the family’s attorney, told CNN affiliate WTVF.

The doctor, whose name was not reported by WTVF, admitted wrongdoing in a progress report from the hospital obtained by the CNN affiliate.

“I had asked for the wrong infant. I had likely performed the procedure on an infant different than the one I intended to … and I admitted my mistake and apologized,” he wrote.

Now the Meltons and their attorney wonder what the future holds for baby Nate.

“We don’t know if the child will have speech problems or eating problems. The concern here is this was a healthy baby that was supposed to leave the hospital, but instead was harmed by the hospital,” said Kelly.

University Medical Center declined to comment to WTVF specifically on what happened, citing federal privacy regulations. CNN could not reach the hospital for comment on Tuesday.


  • Finny Wiggen

    I am sorry that your infant had a very minor procedure accidentally done on him. You sound like the kind of people I would hate to accidentally ever allow to live in a rental property of mine. Because you would obviously sue me if I forgot to… I don’t know, salt the walks within five minutes of it starting to snow.

    You are insane people!

    Yes, it is very sad that your baby was caused pain. And that is wrong, and unfortunate. But the it was a minor procedure. Your child will be fine. Get over it, and move on with life.

  • Rick

    Ok, I will admit that this was quite concerning, but still a ‘near miss’ – recklessness on the part of the hospital could have led to a much more severe issue had the surgery been anything more involved than a tongue clip. The doctor and the hospital were in the wrong judging by what information has been provided: the hospital nursery for sending the wrong infant, and the doctor for not noticing the error while preparing for the procedure. What scares me worse than this thankfully small event is the breakdown or lack of process controls at this location. I’d think twice before I checked in at hospital!

    • UMC Patient

      Sadly this is the second event like this that has occurred in the past few months at this hospital.

      The first involved an ER patient having chemical disinfectant sprayed into a wound instead of wound cleanser before having the wound sutured. Definitely a lack of controls going on here.

      I live in the same town as this hospital and know that they have un-safe staffing levels. CHS owns the hospital and it has gone downhill fast since they acquired it.

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