Europe

Austrian family caught in baby swap gets big award decades later

The family of an Austrian girl swapped at birth was awarded more than $100,000 in damages after she discovered the mistake – more than 20 years later.

Doris Gruenwald was 22 when she went in for a routine blood test – and learned she was not biologically related to the parents who raised her, local media reported this week.

“It was a huge shock for me and my daughter,” Evelin Gruenwald told the Krone daily last year.

University Hospital Graz suggested that the mix-up did not happen there, rather, it happened at a later time and somewhere else. The court rejected this idea, ruling that the mix-up occurred at the clinic between the birth and the mother receiving the child. After ruling there was “gross negligence,” the court awarded Doris Gruenwald and both parents $33,630 each as well as costs for Gruenwald’s adoption by the couple.

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Gruenwald has said still does not know who her biological parents are, though the clinic offered free DNA tests to women who had given birth between October 15 and November 20, 1990. Only 30 women responded and took advantage of the tests and there were no matches, AFP reported.

The local health authority says it plans to appeal the judgment, saying the court failed to establish that the mix-up occurred at the hospital.