Spanish teenager sues health authority after being swapped at birth

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Baby in incubator - a girl was swapped at birth with another also in an incubator. Image by: kqedquest via under creative commons license

Spanish authorities in La Rioja put the blame on “human error” – and say they don’t know who is responsible. Woman is suing the health authority for €3million for being swapped at birth.

The 19-year-old was switched in a maternity ward at a hospital in the La Rioja region in 2002.

However, the mix-up only came to light after one of the women took a DNA test. She discovered she was not genetically related to her presumed mother and father.

Both female babies were born underweight and placed in incubators. Later, they were handed to the wrong parents. Spanish medics blame “human error”.

Sara Alba, health chief of Spain’s northern La Rioja region, told a news conference: “It was a human error and we haven’t been able to find out who was to blame. The systems back then were different and weren’t as computerised as they are now.”

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Ms Alba offered assurances such an incident could not happen again.

The other woman who was given to the wrong parents has also been told about the mistake, according to the local newspaper that broke the news.

Neither of the two women have been identified.

Swapped at birth not the same as ‘stolen baby’ network

Whilst this is clearly a sad state of affairs, it is not a reoccurence of the ‘stolen baby’ network which haunts Spain.

Victims associations estimate up to 300,000 children were stolen during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco by a network of nuns and doctors.  They took babies from poor families or single mothers and gave them to wealthy parents unable to conceive.

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