For the first nine months after mom gave birth to her son, she was denied access back home to the United States because of an error at the hospital. Richard Cushworth and his Salvadorian wife Mercy have been repeatedly refused entry into the United States because a DNA showed that their son had been accidentally swapped with another child at the hospital after birth.
For eight months, the couple had been waiting for the government of El Salvador to fix the problem and get them the correct birth certificate, and only now things have been righted.
Although both babies were returned to their rightful parents in September, the Cushworth family were forced to suffer for much longer because of a clerical delay. In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today program, the family talked about how painful it was to be stuck in the legal battle as they handed over the wrong child, which was given to them after its birth.
“The thought that the baby I had been nursing, taken care of, loving him, bathing him, that he was not mine,” Mercy said. “And then I had another thought which came with it – where’s my baby?! So I had two thoughts, what’s going to happen with this baby, and where’s my baby.”
The situation was a nightmare out of a movie. The family had been raising the wrong baby because of negligent care at the hospital in El Salvador.
When Cushworth gave birth to her son in her native El Salvador, he spent the first night in the nursery. In the morning, she was given a different baby to take home, which she did not realize at the time.
Although the family now is glad that they’re all united, they don’t understand how such a grave error could have taken place. Additionally, charges against the doctor who delivered the baby were dropped two weeks before the family’s interview with BBC.
Mercy Cushworth was suspicious when her baby looked different. The newborn’s features were not the same as the one she held after her emergency C-section the night before.
“He was just passed by me, and I gave him a kiss, and then he was taken to the nursery, and that was the last time I saw him,” the mother remembers.
When nurses brought another baby the next day, they insisted it was hers, despite the mother’s concerns.
The family returned home across the border to Dallas, Texas. That’s when Cushworth took a DNA test that claimed there was a 0% chance the baby was her son.
“I just fell to the floor.”
The babies were quickly returned to their biological parents. At the time they were four months old.
“We were rushed in, and we had to go really quickly, and we barely had time to say goodbye (to the other baby). I got all his clothes, and we handed him in. That was the most difficult part of all the situation,” Mercy said.
Then the United States refused to let the family back into the country. For nine months, they demanded updated paperwork, which nearly bankrupted the family.
Eventually, they made it over the border back home to Dallas.