Mother considers legal action after breastfeeding mix-up at hospital

Newborn mistakenly given to wrong mother for breastfeeding at OPMC

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – As a woman weighs whether to pursue legal action after she said her newborn was mistakenly given to the wrong mother for breastfeeding at a hospital near Jacksonville, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration is reviewing the mix-up. 

Orange Park Medical Center told News4Jax that it will be evaluating its policies and procedures after Joii Brown said that the nursing staff took her infant son from her hospital room for circumcision surgery, but instead took the baby to a different mother who breastfed the boy for two minutes. 

"That was the freaking-out part because I don't know if this mom is sick or not," Brown told News4Jax on Thursday. "That was really scary to me."

It happened less than 10 hours after she gave birth to her son, Roman Phillips. Brown said her family is now speaking with attorneys.

She said the hospital told her that it couldn't let her know whether the woman who nursed her baby was on any type of medications or had any diseases because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

She said the doctors also told her they won’t know if her son caught any type of illness from the breast milk, as he was too young for many of the tests, but the hospital did tell her they evaluated the infant.

READ MORE: Newborn given to wrong mother for breastfeeding at hospital

Attorney Gene Nichols, who is not associated with the case, told News4Jax on Friday that the mother may not have a court case.

"I do not see any criminal implications here in any party," Nichols said. "I probably would say that there's not going to be any civil implications because the chances that this happened to this child by being breastfed, knowing only that, is very slim to suggest that there’s some sort of injury to this child."

Orange Park Medical Center provided the following statement:

Of course the hospital will do everything we can to follow the family’s wishes and support the family.”

Brown said she was told that the mix-up was a human mistake.

"I know everybody makes mistakes, but this is something I feel like is more than just a mistake because, just looking at a wristband, that’s something really minor," she said. "All you had to do was look at the wristband and see that isn’t her child."

Running through Brown's mind was the name Kamiyah Mobley, who was abducted as a newborn from a Jacksonville hospital in 1998. That's why Brown said she's so concerned about what happened.

When asked about that, an Orange Park Medical Center representative said it could not comment on specifics and was unable to say whether the nurse in question would be reprimanded, citing it's a personal matter.

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