Two French families who learned that their babies had been switched at birth twenty years ago have now been awarded Γé¼2 million in compensation.
A court in the southern French town of Grasse ruled that the clinic in Cannes should pay the compensation, although the awarded amount was six times lower than what the families had demanded.
The court ruled that the Cannes-la-Bocca Clinic should pay Γé¼400,000 to each of the babies, who are now 20-year-old women, along with Γé¼300,000 to each of the parents and another Γé¼60,000 to the three siblings. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Sophie Serrano with her daughter Manon, who were awarded compensation after they discovered Manon was not her biological daughter due to a hospital mix-up.
2. A court in the southern town of Grasse today ordered the clinic in Cannes to pay the compensation to the two families including to Mrs Serrano and her daughter Manon, pictured.
The story began after Sophie Serrano, now 38, gave birth to a daughter at the Cannes-la-Bocca Clinic in July, 1994.
As the baby suffered from jaundice, doctors placed her in an incubator equipped with lights to treat the condition, along with another affected baby girl.
However, one of the nurses inadvertently switched the babies and, even though both mothers expressed doubts about the infants’ identities, noting their different hair lengths, they were nevertheless sent home.
Ten years later, one of the girls’ fathers, troubled that his daughter, Manon, bore no resemblance to him with her darker skin, did a paternity test which revealed that he was not her biological father.
His wife then learned that she was not Manon’s parent either, leading to an investigation to locate the other family who had been given their biological daughter.
3. Mrs. Serrano discovered that Manon was not her biological daughter despite the fact she had raised doubts with hospital staff.
4. Sophie Serrano, pictured shortly after giving birth at the age of 18, discovered her daughter had been accidentally switched at birth ten years after the event.
The probe revealed that at the time of the girls’ births in 1994, three babies suffered from jaundice — the two girls and a boy — and at the time the clinic had only two incubators with the special lights needed to treat the condition.
The girls were put together in one incubator and the boy in the other.
The two pairs of parents met their biological daughters for the first time when the girls were both 10 years old, but no one asked that they be switched back.
Following the meeting, the two families then distanced themselves from each other. After the closed-court hearing in December, Manon said:
It was a pretty disturbing moment. You find yourself in front of a woman who is biologically your mother but who is a stranger.
Mrs. Serrano added:
It’s too difficult, so we each went our separate ways as it’s so distressing. It was the only way to find some stability again.
5. The Cannes-la-Bocca Clinic in Cannes, France, where the mix-up occurred in July 1994, after the two newborn girls were placed in the same incubator to help treat jaundice.
While Manon’s parents have been willing to talk about the case with the media, the other parents has chosen to keep a low profile.
The lawyers representing the Cannes-la-Bocca Clinic noted the “significant difference” between the amount they demanded and the sum the court awarded, but acknowledged that the damages awarded were “high”.
The lawyers added that they were waiting for the details of the judgement before deciding on a possible appeal.
However, speaking on French television, a lawyer for one of the families stated that they were “completely satisfied with the decision” and “relieved that the court had recognized the clinic was responsible”.
6. Mom Dieu! French court awards Γé¼400,000 for babies switched at birth — a Reuters report.
Source: The Daily Mail.
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