Feet of newborn baby on changing table with diapers
Feet of newborn baby on changing table with diapers

Baby given to wrong family in hospital bungle

A newborn baby was sent home to the wrong family and three people died after they were given incorrect medications in public hospitals all within the one year, according to a new Federal Government Report.

Two patients also had to have additional surgery after "instruments or other materials" were left inside of them during operations in the 2017-18 year.

The revelations of the bungles in Western Australia come a day after The West Australian exposed how Frank Wattam, 75, died after receiving unnecessary chemotherapy and surgery because PathWest misdiagnosed him with bladder cancer when he had prostate cancer.

A newborn baby was given to the wrong family. Picture: iStock
A newborn baby was given to the wrong family. Picture: iStock


The Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services Health shows in 2017-18, the most recent year for which data is available, there were six sentinel "events".

These are mistakes that were defined as having "deficiencies that result in the death of, or serious harm to, a patient".

This included the baby that was sent home to the wrong family and the three patients whose deaths were believed to have been caused because of wrong medication.

The last time a baby had been discharged to the wrong family in a WA hospital was 2013-14 when two babies were given to the wrong people.