MONTVALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There were accusations Friday, of an accidental baby swap.
A mixup that may have led an unsuspecting mom to breastfeed the wrong newborn turned a new mother’s overwhelming joy into anxiety and anger.
The woman said she nursed the wrong child, depriving her own baby of the nutrients it needed.
As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, 4-month-old Scarlett Richman is blissfully oblivious to the painful ordeal her mom Melissa went through after bringing her into the world.
“It just never even crossed my mind that this kind of mistake could happen,” she said.
In September, after undergoing a three hour c-section at Valley Hospital, a nurse brought Richman a baby to breastfeed.
She came back twenty minutes later.
“She said, ‘I need you to give me the baby right now.’ She said, ‘there has been a terrible mistake, this isn’t your baby,” Richman said. “I started going back and thinking, ‘did I feed her the first time? Is this even my baby? How does something like this even happen.”
Valley Hospital has a top tier neonatal intensive care unit that provides the highest level of care for at-risk moms and newborns.
Richman said the staff put her and her baby at risk. A few minutes after the mix up, Richman said the nurse brought Scarlett in to breastfeed.
“They immediately put her right on me, and they didn’t clean me off so I started worrying about the saliva and stuff from the other baby,” she said.
Richman was put through a battery of tests to make sure she hadn’t passed on any infections to the other baby.
Now, she and her husband are suing the hospital over what happened.
“The hospital failed to be accountable, made us feel horrible like it was our fault that something happened,” David Richman said.
“If a mistake like this goes under the table and people don’t talk about it, it could happen again, and again, and again,” Melissa added.
CBS2 reached out to Valley Hospital multiple times for comment, but have not received a response.
The Richmans said they hope the hospital learns from what happened so no other family has to endure the same experience.
Melissa said her heart goes out to the other mother involved in the mix up.