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Australian hospital mixes up newborns

SYDNEY, Australia -- Staff at a hospital accidentally mixed up two newborns and gave them to the wrong mothers, who breast-fed the infants before the mistake was caught, the hospital said yesterday.

A family member of one of the mothers thought something was wrong and alerted staff after the mothers had been with the wrong infants for more than eight hours Friday, said Stephen Roberts, chief executive of St. John of God Hospital in Geelong, southeastern Victoria state.

In a statement, the hospital said the babies spent Thursday night in the nursery and were given to the wrong mothers early in the morning. The infants' identification bracelets were not checked against the ID bracelets on the mothers.

The hospital was investigating how the mistake happened.

Roberts and nursing staff apologized to both families and each set of parents was offered counseling, the hospital said. The mothers were also being tested to ensure no infections were transmitted when they breast-fed the wrong babies, Roberts said.

The parents were upset by the media coverage and did not want to give any interviews, the hospital said. -- AP