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September 22, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(4):414. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970210154016

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Mix-ups involving two or more babies are quite rare in hospital nurseries, but they still can happen. In one state alone in a period of 18 months eight mix-ups or alleged mix-ups occurred. When such a mix-up, alleged or actual, does occur, a torrent of unfavorable publicity is unloosed and the parents concerned may be haunted by a lifetime doubt about their child. The confusion sometimes arises because two mothers in a hospital at the same time have the same surname; it sometimes arises because a single identification becomes detached from the baby; or it may even arise because parents get to wondering after they leave the hospital how the attendants maintained the identity of the babies. Sometimes the confusion is easily straightened out, and sometimes it leads to giving the wrong baby a harmless prescription; only rarely does it lead to an actual exchange of babies. The American Hospital

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