Tenn. Hospital Performs Surgery on Wrong Newborn

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
The Melton family
WTVF Screenshot

The Melton family delivered a healthy baby boy at a Tennessee hospital. Shortly after his birth, they believed, little Nate was taken for a routine evaluation that is done of all newborns. When the nurse returned to Jennifer Melton's hospital room talking about surgery, the mom broke down crying hysterically.

"The nurse started to mention the procedure they had done, that they had clipped his tongue," Melton told told WTVF.


According to CNN, the University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tenn., reportedly confused baby Nate with another child and in doing so performed a procedure called a frenulectomy, in which the flap of skin under the child's tongue is cut. The procedure is performed on children when the skin is too tight and can cause speech and eating problems.

"It's recklessness. There's no excuse for cutting on a healthy child. There's no excuse for mixing up babies at a hospital," Clint Kelly, the family's attorney, told WTVF.

According to WTVF, the doctor, who was not named, admitted to the mistake in a progress report.

"I had asked for the wrong infant," he wrote. "I had likely performed the procedure on an infant different than the one I intended to … and I admitted my mistake and apologized."


The worry for the Meltons now is whether Nate, who was born perfectly healthy, will have complications from the unneeded surgery. 

"We don't know if the child will have speech problems or eating problems. The concern here is this was a healthy baby that was supposed to leave the hospital but instead was harmed by the hospital," said Kelly.


The hospital declined to comment on the incident, citing federal privacy regulations, CNN reports.

Read more at WTVF and CNN.

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