French families awarded almost two million euros 20 years after babies switched at birth
Issued on: Modified:
Two French families whose babies were switched at birth have been awarded nearly two million euros in compensation for the blunder. A court in the southern town of Grasse ordered the clinic at the centre of the 1994 mix-up that nearly tore the families apart.
The two children involved, now adult women, were both awarded 400,000 euros each, three parents 300,000 euros and three brothers and sisters 60,000.
The total of 1.88 million euros was six times less than the sum the families asked for and the court threw out a suit against doctors and obstetricians.
The unintentional swap took place after Sophie Serrano gave birth to a girl, Manon, on 4 July 1994 at the clinic in the Riviera city of Cannes.
The baby suffered from jaundice, as did two other babies – a boy and a girl – and doctors put her in an incubator equipped with lights to treat the problem.
Because there were only two such incubators, she was put in the same one as the other girl.
An auxiliary nurse gave the wrong babies to their mothers, even though they expressed doubts because of different hair lengths.
Ten years later, troubled by the fact that Manon did not really resemble him, her father underwent a paternity test that showed he was not her biological parent.
Sophie Serrano then underwent a test that showed that she was not her biological mother, either.
A probe was launched to find the other family and the truth revealed.
The two sets of parents met their biological daughters for the first time when they were both 10 years old but did not ask that they be switched back.