Having your baby switched at birth may sound like the ultimate nightmare for any new parent (or a bad Lifetime movie), but for two Argentinian families this month, it was an all-too-tragic reality. The good news is, the mix-up was recognized before things went too far. But it took three weeks to rectify the situation.
Maria Lorena Gerbeno and Veronica Tejada each gave birth to healthy baby girls at Sanatorio Argentino Hospital in late September. But when they went to take their daughters home, something just didn't seem right. It wasn't the way the babies looked, or even anything about their behaviors that struck them as odd. It was the way their babies felt in their arms that sent up a red flag—they didn't seem to weigh the same as they did the day before.
Gerbeno noticed her girl felt a few pounds heavier than she was just a few hours earlier, and even said something to the hospital before she left. But the nurses told her she was mistaken. So Gerbeno took the baby home, despite nagging feelings that the baby was not her own.
The whole thing may have gone unnoticed for much longer, had it not been for a chance meeting between the two mothers at a routine check-up for their babies.
Just three weeks after the mix-up, Gerbeno and Tejada bumped into each other at their appointments and got to chatting about their baby girls, who just so happened to be born on the same day. That's when they each admitted they were skeptical about their babies' weights, and started to think that their children had been switched at birth.
Sure enough, a DNA test later proved that the girls were in fact sent home with the wrong mothers, in an unbelievable hospital error.
"I spent three weeks with a baby that was not my daughter," Gerbeno told Spanish-language broadcaster C5N. "But I gave her all my love and knew that the other mom would do the same."
Authorities then tested all children born in the hospital on that same day, to confirm that no other errors had been made. Luckily, this was the only blunder, and the two girls were returned to their biological mothers right away.
As for the hospital, it's looking into what caused the mix-up to begin with—and may soon be facing legal action from both families.