Error was the first time ever, and it'll be the last: CEO

SINGAPORE - KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) is reviewing all its processes following the incident on Sunday when two babies were given to the wrong parents.

Professor Kenneth Kwek, its chief executive officer, said it was the "first time ever" that such an error has occurred in the hospital, "and it will be the last".

The first thing the hospital did was to give a stern reminder to all staff "to be more attentive and careful", he said Monday night. The hospital will also see whether new technology used by hospitals elsewhere can be adopted to improve the way it does things. He did not elaborate.

Currently, when a child is born, a plastic tag bearing his mother's identity is placed around his right ankle, after the mother has verified that it is correct.

In the nursery, where the baby is put under a radiant warmer, a second tag which carries a barcode, as well as the mother's particulars, is placed on the left ankle, after it is checked against the information on the right ankle. These tags must be checked each time the baby is taken to his mother. On discharge, the tags on both ankles must be checked.

Prof Kwek admitted that this might not always be done. The baby is wrapped in a blanket and sometimes, the parents themselves do not want it removed for the tags to be checked, he said.

The hospital, first set up in 1858, has delivered around 1.4 million babies.

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