Newborn given to wrong mother for breastfeeding at hospital

Hours after giving birth, Joii Brown says son mistakenly given to another woman

By Corley Peel - Reporter

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - Hours after giving birth, a woman said her newborn was mistakenly given to a different mother for breastfeeding at Orange Park Medical Center. 

Joii Brown said the nurses told her it was a mistake, and mistakes happen. 

But Brown believes this was one mistake that should have never happened and should never happen again. 

News4Jax spoke with Brown and her husband on Thursday after they returned home from the hospital with their newborn son, Roman Phillips. 

Earlier that afternoon, Brown said, she learned that her son had been breastfed by a different woman at Orange Park Medical Center.

"I was really scared," she said. "It was shocking."

According to Brown, the nurses took her son to have a circumcision. The surgery normally takes 30 minutes, which is why Brown said she knew something was strange when the nurses didn't come back until an hour and a half later. 

"These two nurses walked in and they said that they took my child in another girl's room and they mistakenly thought that was her child and not mine and she ended up breastfeeding him for two minutes," Brown said.

Brown was told they didn’t look at her son’s wristband to see which child he was and 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," Brown said. "All you had to do was look at the wristband and see that isn’t her child."

Orange Park Medical Center provided News4Jax with the following statement:

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

Brown said the hospital immediately ran tests on her son, but she now fears he could get sick. 

"My main concern is that it could have been something other than breast milk," she said. "And that (it) could happen to anybody’s child."

Brown said her son was doing OK as of Thursday evening, but still hadn't eaten anything since earlier in the afternoon and had been sleeping the rest of the day.

She said the hospital told her that it couldn't let her know whether the woman who breastfed her son was on any type of medications 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 until he is a little bit older, and they can run tests.

Brown said her family is speaking with lawyers. 

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