Tennessee hospital performed surgery on the wrong baby, says parents

Posted at 7:26 PM, Feb 09, 2016

LEBANON, Tenn. — For most, the birth of your child is a moment you will never forget.

What was supposed to be a time of celebration turned into a nightmare for one Tennessee family.

During the family’s hospital stay, their newborn was mistaken for another child and surgery was performed on him.

The Melton family delivered a healthy baby boy named, Nate, at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, near Nashville. Soon after his birth, Jennifer Melton, Nate’s mother, thought he was going for a routine checkup. But when he was returned she broke down crying hysterically when she found out what happened to her baby.

“The nurse started to mention the procedure they had done that they had clipped his tongue,” Melton told CNN affiliate WTVF.

The healthy baby boy had a procedure called a frenulectomy, where the flap of skin under the child’s tongue is cut. The procedure is done when the flap of skin is too tight and can cause feeding and speech problems. About 5% of all babies have some form of tongue-tie. It can cause complications, including breast-feeding issues for newborns.

The Melton family

The Melton family

“It’s recklessness. There’s no excuse for cutting on a healthy child. There’s no excuse for mixing up babies at a hospital,” Clint Kelly, the family’s attorney, told CNN affiliate WTVF.

The doctor, whose name was not reported by WTVF, admitted wrongdoing in a progress report from the hospital obtained by the CNN affiliate.

“I had asked for the wrong infant. I had likely performed the procedure on an infant different than the one I intended to … and I admitted my mistake and apologized,” he wrote.

Now the Meltons and their attorney wonder what the future holds for baby Nate.

“We don’t know if the child will have speech problems or eating problems. The concern here is this was a healthy baby that was supposed to leave the hospital, but instead was harmed by the hospital,” said Kelly.

University Medical Center declined to comment to WTVF specifically on what happened, citing federal privacy regulations. CNN could not reach the hospital for comment on Tuesday.