German Clinic Mixes Up Newborns, Gives Babies to Wrong Parents

Two newborn girls were mixed up at a clinic in southwestern Germany and went home with the wrong parents, and doctors are now trying to correct the mistake, authorities said Friday.

The incident occurred at the St. Elisabeth clinic in Saarlouis this summer.

It only recently came to light, however, after one of the fathers took a paternity test, area councilwoman Monika Bachmann said.

His wife then took a test and it was confirmed that she was not the girl's mother, according to a report in the top-selling Bild newspaper.

The clinic is now trying to find out who the real parents are, said St. Elisabeth's director, Franz-Josef Backes. A total of 14 families are possibilities, and blood and DNA tests are being done to resolve the matter, he said.

But results from those tests could take one to two weeks.

"It is really a terrible time for the parents, to be left hanging like that," Backes said.

The woman who has been identified with the wrong baby is under 24-hour supervision by the youth services office, Bachmann said.

"It is a very difficult situation," she said.

Mathias Uhlig, the head doctor at the clinic, said there is a possibility that the children were somehow mixed up outside the clinic, given that the only two other children born on the same day were boys.

He also noted that the mother had her photo taken with her infant, who already had the standard plastic identification band on her arm, he said.

Still, the clinic is examining all of its procedures to see where the error may have occurred, Uhlig said.