Switched at birth: 19-year-old demands millions in damages from Spanish authorities

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
(iStock)
(iStock)
  • A 19-year-old is demanding compensation of $3.5 million from Spanish health authorities after she was swapped with another newborn almost 20 years ago.
  • They were mixed up in 2002 at the San Millan de Logrono in Spain by human error.
  • The error was discovered four years ago.


A 19-year-old woman is seeking millions of euros in damages after it emerged that she was accidentally swapped with another newborn at a Spanish hospital nearly two decades ago.

The babies were mixed up in 2002 after they were born five hours apart and placed in incubators at the San Millan de Logrono in northern Spain, due to a "one-off human error," regional health authorities said.

The error was discovered four years ago after one of the girls who was switched underwent a DNA test as part of dispute over child support payments.

The woman, now 19, is demanding compensation of three million euros ($3.5 million) from health authorities for having been handed to the wrong family, her lawyer Jose Saez-Morga told AFP.

He said:

We are talking about huge damages, which will last her whole life and which will never be repaired.

Health authorities in the Rioja region have so far only offered the woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, 215 000 euros in compensation, he added.

The regional health chief, Sara Alba, said computer systems back then did not have as many details as they do today, and stressed that a similar mix-up could not happen again.

Officials are "not aware" of any other cases at the hospital, which has since closed, she told a news conference on Tuesday.

ALSO READ | 'What if I didn't need saving?' Zephany opens up on life after kidnapping revelation

"We have not been able to determine who is to blame for this mistake," Alba said.

"It was a one-off human error which could not happen today. We can guarantee that this will not happen again."

Saez-Morga said the other young woman switched at birth and her family have also undergone DNA testing.

She has also asked to remain anonymous and has so far not filed a lawsuit, he added.

According to Spanish media reports, one woman was sent to live with a couple who she believed to be her parents while the other, who has filed the lawsuit, was raised mostly by a woman she mistakenly thought was her grandmother.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4729 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5796 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
18.09
-0.7%
Rand - Pound
19.33
+0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.38
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.68
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.1%
Gold
1,621.66
-1.3%
Silver
18.34
-2.8%
Palladium
2,047.50
-1.2%
Platinum
852.00
-0.8%
Brent Crude
86.15
-5.0%
Top 40
57,290
+0.3%
All Share
63,626
+0.3%
Resource 10
56,215
-0.2%
Industrial 25
79,529
+1.4%
Financial 15
13,982
-1.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE