Hospital Newborn Swap Outrages Parents

Amy Carey says she can hardly bare to think about what might have happened if nurses at Catskill Regional Medical Center never realized they had given her someone else's newborn baby

"A baby was brought to me to be breast-fed, and it was the wrong baby, only nobody realized that until a couple hours later," Amy Carey told New York City's WABC-TV.

Carey's baby was switched with another shortly after she gave birth.

Carey breast fed the baby the nurses had brought to her as her own, never realizing that her baby had been given to another mother.

Amy Carey and her husband Peter say they're floored that such a dangerous mistake could have been made considering the security precautions that are supposed to be in place.

Amy and the other baby were wearing required wrist and ankle bands, but the nurses never compared the two bands.

"They just weren't checked, they weren't matched up, and the baby was brought to me. My wrist band was checked, but the baby's was not," she said.

Arthur Brein, president of Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, N.Y., admits there is no excuse for the serious error.

"It was a human error. It shouldn't have happened," Brein said. "The numbers have to be identical. The mother's number and the baby's number have to be identical. In this case, a nurse did not follow that step."

But what still puzzles Amy and Peter, is that at one point her daughter's wrist band had even set off an alarm.

"Something could have been, might have been happening to my child. It's scary," Peter Carey said.

Brein says the babies were later tested for any medical problems that could have been caused by the switch.

One nurse has been fired as a result of the baby mix-up, while others have been retrained, according to the hospital.

Brein says the medical center is trying to do everything in its power to assist the mothers in dealing with the incident.

"Explain to them why it happened, and then supply them with anything that they need to bring this to closure," Brein said.

Meanwhile, the Careys, who have another child, say they really need some answers.

"Someone needs to explain that to me, why that alarm was going off," Amy Carey said.

In an effort to find out just what happened, and why, the Careys have hired attorney Henri Shawn.

"This is about accountability, an explanation, and it should come from the top," Shawn said.

The Careys say the mix-up incident turned a very happy event into a frightening mystery.

WABC-TV's Tim Fleischer reported this story, which also appeared on ABCNEWS's Good Morning America.

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