Mother raises wrong daughter after hospital mix up

Two families have been awarded £1.5 million between them after it was discovered that their daughters had been swapped in a hospital mix up.

The two baby girls, born in a private Cannes hospital twenty years ago, had been placed next to each other in the nursery as they underwent ultra-violet treatment for jaundice.

However, an alcoholic nurse who was working on the ward somehow switched the babies, leading to them going home with the wrong families.

Sophie Sorrano, the eighteen-year-old mother to one of the babies, questioned whether the baby was hers before leaving the hospital. She was reassured that her daughter’s darker skin and longer hair was the result of exposure to the UV lights.

“Why would I not believe her?” Sophie told the Daily Mail. “My baby was wearing the same clothes, she cried in exactly the same way. I noticed, but I accepted the nurse's explanation, didn't question it.

“I had hardly seen her the first few days. I was tired, the families were visiting and you feel powerless too with all the doctors and nurses. You do what you’re told.”

Sophie describes Manon as a “gorgeous, lively, smiley baby”, but her daughter’s appearance, which she put down to her Spanish heritage, caused a stir in her village. Manon’s father began to have doubts about whether the baby was his.

When the couple split after eighteen months, contact between Manon and her father became intermittent. Eventually, when Manon was nine, he stopped paying maintenance and so lawyers suggested a paternity test to make the payments enforceable by law.

Sophie was confident that the results would alleviate any doubts, but instead she had a terrible shock.

“He is not the father,” the lawyer told her, “but you are not the mother either.”

Sophie said: “Straight away my mind leapt back to that hair and it was as if things clicked into place. It was obvious what must have happened. The clinic had given me the wrong baby.

“Immediately I felt terrified. What if the other parents wanted their baby back? Was I going to lose my daughter?

“Questions ran through my mind: what about the other child, the one I brought into the world? Was she still alive? Was she ok?”

Following a three-month police inquiry, the Sophie’s lawyer called to say that they had found the other family and that they wanted to meet.

The first visit was “terrifying and exciting at the same time.”

“In the event, it was incredibly moving,” said Sophie. “This girl looked just like me, she was beautiful, amazing. We fell into each others' [sic] arms, we hugged for a long time. It was incredible.

“We had so much catching up to do, we talked and talked. I was so relieved she was happy and had been well looked after.

“But it was disturbing, too.”

Although the families met regularly at first, their differences soon became apparent and contact gradually stopped.

“Of course I found it painful,” said Sophie. “I still do. I'm still grieving for that child, the one I lost.”

To make matters worse, the courts had found no grounds for a criminal prosecution and the clinic tried to blame the parents for not recognising their own babies. This prompted the families to sue on the grounds of gross negligence.

“This was unforgiveable negligence,’ said Sophie. “For all these years the clinic never apologised, never questioned themselves, and even tried to attack us by saying we should have known our babies were not our own.

“That nurse should not have been working.

“There were bottles of alcohol in the nursery and it turned out that everybody knew.”

Now that a verdict has been reached, Sophie says she can finally begin the healing process.

“The recognition that it wasn't my fault means everything to me,' she said. “I can feel confident in myself again. And I fought for that, I can be proud of it. Something went wrong and I repaired it as best I could. I made up for it.”

To read the full Daily Mail article visit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2950424/My-baby-swapped-birth-bringing-stranger.html