THIS WEEK IN 1996: Hospital investigates maternity scare as baby loses ID labels  

The maternity unit at St Mary's Hospital, Milton
The maternity unit at St Mary's Hospital, Milton

New-born babies at a Portsmouth hospital maternity ward had to be double checked by staff after an identity scare.

New-born babies at a Portsmouth hospital maternity ward had to be double checked by staff after an identity scare.

Emergency procedures swung into action at St Mary’s Hospital, Milton, after a new-born baby boy was found without two vital identity bracelets.

Hospital managers were waiting to interview the midwife who delivered the baby, and whose responsibility it would have been to fit the labels.

But the midwife – who could have faced disciplinary action – had since gone on leave for two weeks.

All babies were fitted with the tags on their wrists and ankles before they left their mother’s side and were checked twice a day.

The error was discovered within a dew hours of the baby’s birth.

Rosemary Featch, the director of nursing quality for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said if another baby had been found without his bracelets further tests – possibly blood tests – would have been needed to make sure the right baby was with its mother.

Mrs Featch said in this case the baby in question had not left his mother’s side, but they had gone through the emergency procedure to be certain.