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France

French girls switched at birth demand millions in damages

The babies shared an incubator
The babies shared an incubator Reuters

The families of two 20 year old women, who were accidentally switched at birth, appeared in court in Grasse in southeastern France on Tuesday where they are suing doctors and the clinic involved for more than 12 million euros.

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In July 1994 Sophie Serrano gave birth to a baby she named Manon, who was put in a special incubator shortly afterwards because she was suffering from jaundice.

She shared the incubator with another affected newborn girl, because there were not enough such incubators equipped with lights in the clinic.

A nurse unwittingly switched them, and while both mothers immediately expressed doubts about the babies, commenting on their different hair lengths, they were sent home anyway.

Ten years later, bothered by the fact that his daughter bore no resemblance to him with her darker skin, Manon’s father did a paternity test which revealed that he was not her biological parent.

Sophie Serrano then discovered that she was not Manon’s biological mother either.

She began trying to find the other family who might have her biological daughter.

The investigation revealed that at the time of the births, three newborns suffered from jaundice – two girls and a boy.

Instead of putting a girl and boy in the same incubator with the special lights, the two girls were placed together, according to the lawyer of one of the obstetricians being sued.

Another obstetrician, two paediatricians, the clinic and an auxiliary nurse are also being sued.

The two sets of parents eventually met their biological daughters for the first time when the girls were 10 years old but did not ask that they be switched back.

Although both families attended today’s closed-door court hearing, the other family have opted to remain anonymous.

In damages, the families are demanding 3 million euros for each of the 20 year old women, 1.5 million for three parents and 750,000 for each brother or sister.
 

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