The families of two French babies switched at birth by the hospital in 1994 have reportedly been awarded more than $2 million for the mix-up.
More than 20 years ago, Sophie Serrano gave birth to a daughter at the Cannes-la-Bocca Clinic in Cannes. At the time, the baby suffered from jaundice and was placed in an incubator to treat the problem. Mistakenly, a nurse switched Serrano’s baby with another. Although both mothers expressed doubt that the babies given to them were actually theirs because one seemed too light and the other too dark, the hospital attributed it to the lamps in the incubators and sent them home.
Ten years later, Manon, the daughter that Serrano had been raising with her husband, bore no resemblance to either of her parents, and with increasing suspicion, Manon’s father got a paternity test. When he found out that their daughter wasn’t his, Serrano got one too, and the results showed what they had suspected from the beginning.
After an investigation, it was discovered three babies suffered from jaundice, two of which were girls, and unknowingly, a nurse accidentally mixed the two girls up because they were placed in the same incubator due to a lack of equipment.
The two families wound up meeting, but ultimately, they decided to move on with their lives as they were.
“It was a pretty disturbing moment,” Manon recalled. “You find yourself in front of a woman who is biologically your mother but who is a stranger.”
“It's too difficult, so we each went our separate ways as it's so distressing,” Sophie Serrano added. “It was the only way to find some stability again.”
Now, a decade after the mix-up was first discovered, both families have been awarded compensation from the clinic. The two girls switched at birth were each awarded 400,000 euros and the three parents involved were awarded 300,000 euros each, and three affected siblings were each awarded 60,000 euros. In total, the amount awarded nears the equivalent of $2.2 million.
“Finally, after so many years, the error has been recognized,” Serrano said of the decision. “Now, I'm cleared of everything. I've no reason any more to feel guilty for anything.”