The frenectomy operation consists in cutting the small piece of extra tissue attached to the tongue.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – A team of Tennessee doctors operated on the wrong baby last week. The Mother of the wrongfully operated infant, Jennifer Melton, and the father, Domonique Harper, have already contacted a lawyer in order to sue the doctors for malpractice.
The infant underwent a lingual frenectomy, which means that a small piece of tissue was cut loose in order for the baby to have an extended use of its tongue. The small tissue fold that is called the frenulum connected the tongue of the infant with the inferior part of the mouth. The operation consisted solely of removing that extra piece of tissue so that the tongue could gain normal mobility. The lingual frenectomy is a very common operation and it is performed on both children and adults.
The main reason for which the parents decided to sue the doctors is that they performed the surgery without asking for their permission. The child was not harmed in any way, the only consequence of the doctors’ action is a looser tongue.
The events took place at the King’s Daughter Children’s Hospital and the doctors were supposed to operate on another child. The blame falls not only on the doctors that performed the surgery but also on the medical staff (mainly the nurses) that took the newborn baby and prepared him for the intervention.
According to the family’s attorney, Clint Kelly, there are no acceptable circumstances in which a hospital can mix up two babies. While this operation was a routine one and the life of the child was not endangered, the chances of him being subjected to a much riskier intervention send chills down the spine of the two parents.
The mother declared that she feels like her child was taken away from her and the doctors did what they pleased with him. She did not agree with any procedure and the intervention caused her to break down nervously.
The circumstances of the mix-up are still unclear, but the family’s attorney blames the nursery system. He said that it is the time that health-care services rethink the policy of sending every healthy baby to the nursery, thus parting him from his mother.
Kelly added the fact that these mandatory separations facilitate this kind of mix up. According to him, if a baby is healthy he should be allowed to stay in the same hospital room as his mother so that she can protect him at any time.
The main question of the case remains that if the doctors operated on the wrong baby, then how come they actually had a frenulum to cut? Doesn’t this mean that the baby was also in need of this intervention?
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