Rosetta Kirks

March 12, 1989

A mother given the wrong baby when she left a hospital maternity ward last month cuddled her own son for the first time Friday and said all she wants to do now is “get to know him.”

Days of suspense and a barrage of medical tests confirmed what Rosetta Kirks began to suspect earlier in the week – that the infant she took home from Kaiser Permanente Hospital in West Los Angeles was not the baby she gave birth to Feb. 11. “Right now I’m very happy, ecstatic that we got our baby, but also a little sad that we lost a baby that we had gotten so close to,” Kirks said in a telephone interview. “Thank God we figured this out when the babies were still so young.

“All I want to do now is get to know him (and) relax with my baby,” said the housewife. “I spent so much time with the other baby, I think I need to spend some time getting acquainted with my own.”

Kirks, 30, and her son may never have been reunited had she not realized earlier this week that the boy she was nursing was not as plump or as long as the child she delivered. She also found a hospital bracelet briefly worn by the child carried a different family name.

The foul-up was confirmed Friday afternoon after officials at Kaiser received the results of blood tests.

“Based on our investigation and corroborative blood tests, it appears that two infants were discharged to the wrong set of parents,” said Michelle Sorey, a Kaiser spokeswoman.

The names of the other parents were not released and it was not immediately clear how the mix-up occurred.

“That’s the question we all are asking,” Sorey said.

Sorey said there had never before been a baby mix-up at the hospital, where an average of 170 babies are delivered each month.

The hospital is investigating and will review whether its staff properly followed guidelines on the handling of newborns, he said.

Kirks’ lawyer, Shelly Shellmare, said the family would take “some action” against the hospital, but would not confirm the family would sue.

Both Kirks and the parents of the other child underwent physical and psychiatric exams before being allowed to take their respective babies home.

“This is very traumatic,” Sorey said. “All kinds of interviewing is going on.”

She said the babies were in “excellent” condition.

Kirks and the baby’s father, Leroy Milligan, 47, returned the infant to the hospital Wednesday. Kaiser officials then began tests, including DNA and fingerprint studies, to determine the boy’s parentage.

“It’s been a long ordeal and I’m just glad it’s . . . well, practically over,” Kirks said. “We still have to buy him clothing and there’s just a lot to do.” Edition:  Metro
Section:  News
Page:  A14
Dateline:  LOS ANGELES (UPI) Copyright (c) 1989 Deseret News Publishing Company