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Parents Must Be Wary at Hospitals

* I shuddered to think what Iliana Bravo and Brian Lambert went through when discovering via a telephone call that the infant they brought home was not theirs (Feb. 15).

To add insult to injury, they were instructed to bring the infant back to the hospital, where they were then told their son would not be released to them until genetic testing was completed. On the flip side is the other set of parents, who suffered equal anguish, blamed on nurses not following hospital policy and human error.

Though how the hospital handled the crisis was absurd, The Times did an excellent job providing reliable statistics on the rarity of newborn switching and abductions.

Whether it’s blamed on the nurses not following hospital policy or human error, it happened and can happen again. All hospitals should look at the St. Joseph incident as one that can happen anywhere.

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Parents need to tour maternity wards and ask questions about labor and delivery options. Parents need to ask what types of security measures are in place to prevent a switch or abduction.

Many hospitals in Orange County tout birthing centers that benefit both mother and baby by providing labor, delivery and postpartum care in one room.

Most important, the newborn shares the room with the mother throughout the hospital stay. What a concept!

I support the hospitals that provide this service to their community and encourage potential parents to seek them out.

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DONNA JONES

Huntington Beach

* When we had our baby, my husband and I made a pact that no matter what happens, he was to stay with that baby!

He trailed the nurses, and the baby never left our room. People laughed at us and told us that babies never get mixed up. We ignored them and brought home the right baby.

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My heart goes out to those parents at St. Joseph. Unfortunately, parents have to be more vigilant than ever--from day one.

RENA BATES-SMITH

Trabuco Canyon

* Your spotlight must now turn to the reality of nurses in newborn nurseries all over the United States, who are often overworked in this era of downsized medical care.

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Most are not unionized because their value has traditionally been underrated, due to the perception of being primarily a group of females who are in this profession on a lark.

Nurses are the most direct link to the well-being of any patient’s hospital stay. With all the attention brought by the media to the states of our health and well-being, might we not serve ourselves better by taking care of our caregivers?

KATY WISNIEWSKI

Laguna Niguel

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