MELBOURNE, Australia - The Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne was investigating Thursday after a healthy 32-week-old foetus was accidentally terminated in a botched procedure it called "a terrible tragedy".
Doctors had advised a woman who was having twin boys she had already named that one had a congenital heart defect that would require years of operations, if he survived at all, the Herald Sun reported.
She made the heartbreaking decision to abort the child but on Tuesday the wrong baby was terminated. The woman then had to endure a lengthy caesarean section to end the life of the sick foetus.
"The Royal Women's Hospital can confirm a distressing clinical accident occurred on Tuesday," the hospital said in a statement.
"This is a terrible tragedy and the hospital is deeply sorry for the loss suffered by the patient and her family.
"We are conducting a full investigation and continue to offer the family and affected staff every support."
A friend of the woman told the newspaper the family was struggling to cope.
"She went to the hospital with two babies and now she has none. And she had the heartache of giving birth to her sick baby. She's traumatised," she said.
"The hospital said it had followed correct procedure, but how could this happen?"
Victorian state Premier Ted Baillieu told reporters it was a tragedy for everyone involved.
"I don't think it's appropriate for anybody to draw any conclusions other than this is a horrible tragedy," he said.
"We'll make sure that the investigation is as thorough as it can be."