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Parents Say Hospital Gave Them the Wrong Baby

Photograph by Twenty20

A West Virginia couple says a Sharpie marker incident almost left a permanent mark on their family. Crystal and Arnold "Junior" Perry welcomed their baby boy, Dawson, on June 12. Two days later, relatives went to Logan Regional Medical Center to visit the newborn, with Grandma driving nine hours from South Carolina to meet her eighth grandchild.

Junior immediately went to the nursery to get the newborn so the family could meet him. Dawson's basket was in the same spot, and the ID card read "Perry" (but nothing else, including the weight or first name, was filled out). The only thing he noticed was off was the room number.

"(Junior) noticed on the card it said number five, and our baby had been in number four. He told the nurse, 'Why is he in a baby cart that says number five?' She said, 'Oh that’s fine, that’s your baby.' He thought it was because all he saw was his blond hair. She just walked over there with a Sharpie marker and crossed off 205 and wrote 204," Crystal told the Charleston-Gazette Mail.

Back in the hospital room, the family held the newborn, took photos and even posted some of them on social media for what the Perrys say was about two hours, all the while commenting that baby Dawson looked nothing like his father.

Turns out, that's because the baby wasn't Dawson.

Back in the hospital room, the family held the newborn, took photos and even posted some of them on social media.

While the family was doting on the baby who was supposed to be Dawson, a mom next door (the one in room 205) had gone to the nursery to get her baby boy when she realized he wasn't there. That mom's last name? Also Perry.

Heather Perry told WCHS that when the nurse checked the number on her arm band and the baby's number, they didn't match up. The nurse realized Heather's newborn, Colton, was in the other room, where Junior had just noticed that the onesies and supplies inside the cart's drawers were someone else's.

Both babies were then returned to their rightful families.

The hospital didn't comment on the incident, citing patient privacy concerns.

“I think (the swap) was just a couple seconds,” Heather told the Charleston-Gazette Mail. "It was an honest mistake. It was the first time (the nurse) saw my baby, the first time (the nurse) had dealt with him. There aren’t that many patients here in Logan."

But for Crystal and Junior, who tried to have a baby for seven years, the mix-up shook them up. They're now warning others to learn safety protocols in hospitals, such as checking all ID bands, to avoid unknowing swaps.

Unfortunately, mix-ups aren't unheard of. For instance, last year, a mom sued a hospital in Minneapolis after her newborn was switched with another mom's twin son and breastfed by that stranger mom. "Switched at birth" stories are the ultimate nightmare for any new parent, with some parents not realizing the mistake even for decades.

While the mistake was only for a short while in comparison, it was still too close for comfort.

"One little Sharpie incident," Junior told HLN. "I could've lost my kid to another family over one little scratching off of a number and replacing it with some other number. That little mistake could've been a big, big tragedy."

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