Navigation Links
Babies switched at birth


Babies switched at birth are babies who, because of either error or malfeasance, are interchanged with each other at birth or very soon therafter, leading them being unknowingly raised by parents who are not their biological parents. In real life, the occurrence of such a thing is highly improbable, with it having occurred, or having been asserted to have occurred, in a few cases. However, it is an idea that is a common staple in fiction.

Contents

As a literary plot device

The plot device of babies who are switched at birth, or in their cradles, has been a common one in American fiction since the 18th century. It is one of the several identifiable characteristics of melodrama that are plot devices dealing with situations that are highly improbable in real life.[1]

The use of this common theme has continued ever since. The device was used a number of times by W. S. Gilbert, including in the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas H.M.S. Pinafore and The Gondoliers. In both cases, well-born babies were switched with commoners. Mark Twain, later used this plot device in The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1893), where two babies, one white and one black, are switched at birth, resulting in both passing for races that they are not.[2] It is one of the themes that made for TV movies regularly exploited in the 1970s and 1980s.[3] It continues to be a popular theme in the 1990s and 21st century with (for examples) it being employed as a plot device in Veronica Mars (the characters Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie and Madison Sinclair), in Neighbours (the characters Bree Timmins and Anne Baxter), and in The Young and the Restless (several times, including the characters Cane Ashby and Phillip Chancellor III, and the children of Lauren Fenmore Baldwin and Sheila Carter).

Although a common plot device in soap operas, it is not nearly as common as the theme of questionable paternity. Mumford states that the reason for this is that the potential causes for questionable paternity are far more wide ranging and richer in scope than those for questionable maternity, and thus provide a greater vein for soap opera scriptwriters to mine. Whereas questionable maternity can only be caused by error or malfeasance that causes babies to be switched at or after birth, questionable paternity can involve many aspects, ranging from a woman deliberately wishing to pin paternity on the wrong man, through unreported rape, to a clandestine love affair. It is relatively simple, moreover, for writers to retrofit questions of paternity to characters years on, whereas it is difficult to introduce questions of maternity after the fact.[4]

The device also occurs outside of American fiction, in stories such as The Little Michus.

In real life

In real life, such a switch is highly improbable.[1] Cases that have occurred and made the newspaper headlines include:

  • the case of Kimberly Mays, switched at birth as a result of a medical error in a hospital in Wauchula, Florida[5], the events surrounding whom were subsequently dramatized as the made-for-TV movie Switched at Birth
  • the cases of the children of two South African women, Margaret Clinton-Parker and Sandra Dawkins, whose sons were accidentally switched at birth in 1989, and who sued in the High Court of South Africa in Johannesburg in 1995, demanding damages of ZAR120,000 each from the government of the province of Gauteng for the error1, and who were later that year awarded damages to cover medical expenses and the future projected costs of visiting their biological children[6][7]

Hospitals take fingerprints, foot prints, or palm prints of newborns in order to prevent babies being mixed up. Nurses also double check with the mother, checking the identity of that person as well, in order to prevent errors.[8][9]

Footnotes

  • Note 1: Clinton-Parker v Administrator, Transvaal; Dawkins v Administrator, Transvaal 1996 (2) SA 37 (W)

References

  1. ^ a b Lori Merish (2004). "Melodrama and American Fiction", in Shirley Samuels: A Companion To American Fiction 1780-1865. Blackwell Publishing, 192. ISBN 0631234225.
  2. ^ Gregg Crane (2002). "The positivist alternative", in Ross Posnock: Race, Citizenship, and Law in American Literature. Cambridge University Press, 174–182. ISBN 0521010934.
  3. ^ Kerry Segrave (1999). Movies at Home: How Hollywood Came to Television. McFarland & Company, 139. ISBN 0786406542.
  4. ^ Laura Stempel Mumford (1995). "Plotting paternity: Looking for dad on the daytime soaps", in Robert C. Allen: To Be Continued. . .: Soap Operas Around the World. Routledge, 138–169. ISBN 0415110068.
  5. ^ Martin Guggenheim (2005). What's Wrong With Children's Rights?. Harvard University Press, 56. ISBN 0674017218.
  6. ^ "2 MOMS SUING OVER SONS SWITCHED AT BIRTH", The Deseret News, 1995-08-22.
  7. ^ Associated Press. "Damages awarded after babies switched", The Kansas City Star, 1995-10-22.
  8. ^ Joseph Bolivar De Lee (1966). Obstetrics for Nurses. London and Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 433.
  9. ^ Lawrence Joseph Stone and Joseph Church (1973). Childhood and Adolescence: A Psychology of the Growing Person. Random House UK Ltd, 46. ISBN 0394317238.

See also


'"/>


(Date:7/24/2014)... Tenn. Researchers at Le Bonheur Children,s Hospital and ... of a clinical trial of a new drug shown ... of healthy adult volunteers intranasally infected with respiratory syncytial ... lower respiratory tract infections in young children in the ... from the labs of Infectious Disease Specialist John DeVincenzo, ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... 2014 Members of the Iowa State Board ... Senior Associate of Sales at OutcomesMTM, as their Chairperson. Wolnerman ... the Board and that his peers chose to keep him ... the best I can for the citizens of Iowa,” Wolnerman ... to provide a special insight to concerns and issues related ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... New research from Penn Medicine shows that incisionless ... of hospital stay by 30 percent and has ... compared with conventional transfemoral TAVR, which requires an ... available in the current issue of Circulation: ... of the aortic valve without a traditional open-heart ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... York (PRWEB) July 24, 2014 ... ( http://www.drugbot.com/testosterone/lawsuit/ ) against the manufacturer of Delatestryl, ... risks associated with the low testosterone injection, Bernstein ... was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of ... use of low testosterone therapy is associated with ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... Fla. (July 24, 2014) -- Some babies are at risk ... the disorder. To find new ways to detect Autism ... subtleties of babies, interactions with others and how they relate ... new study helps us to understand the connection between early ... attention is an early form of communication that develops toward ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):Health News:RSV research breakthrough to help infected children 2Health News:Wolnerman Re-elected as Chairperson of Iowa State Board of Health 2Health News:Penn study: Incisionless transcatheter aortic valve replacement surgery cuts hospital length of stay 2Health News:Testosterone Lawsuit News: Canadian Plaintiffs File Class Action Lawsuit Against Manufacturer of Delatestryl Testosterone Injection, Bernstein Liebhard LLP Reports 2Health News:Testosterone Lawsuit News: Canadian Plaintiffs File Class Action Lawsuit Against Manufacturer of Delatestryl Testosterone Injection, Bernstein Liebhard LLP Reports 3Health News:Early warning sign for babies at risk of autism 2
... Most people look forward to kicking off the holiday season ... County Health Department reminds you to protect your family,s health during ... to spread flu germs. , Remember these steps to stay ... step is for people in the high-risk categories to get vaccinated ...
... , SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., Nov. 24 ... education seminars aimed at helping Hispanic-American seniors understand the ... to take a free Zumba® Gold class, a Latin-infused ... cumbia, rumba, and tango. , UnitedHealthcare will offer ...
... ST. LOUIS, Nov. 24 Centene Corporation (NYSE: ... of Medicaid has selected Centene as one of two ... Access Network (MississippiCAN), a coordinated care program for Mississippi ... to execute a contract in which the company will ...
... Discomfort contributes to the falls that plague older adults, ... Falls are a leading cause of death among older ... to those accidents. , "Pain contributes to functional decline ... that could predispose to fall," the study authors wrote. ...
... , CHICAGO, Nov. 24 The American Dental Association (ADA) has ... members as part of a pilot program to improve the oral ... (CDHC) is a member of the dental health team who works ... improve their oral health. , The CDHC provides a limited ...
... Changes Must Be Made to USPSTF Representation and Recommendation Process ... of Senate health care reform legislation contain language stipulating ... would only be required to cover services receiving a specific ... would exclude mammography services for women 40-49, would only require ...
Cached Medicine News:Health News:Tips To Enjoy a Flu-Free Holiday Season 2Health News:UnitedHealthcare To Offer Seniors Hispanic-Centered Medicare Education Seminars Combined With a Latin-Themed Fitness Program 2Health News:Centene Corporation Receives Notification of Intent to Contract From the State of Mississippi 2Health News:Chronic Pain Trips Up Seniors 2Health News:Chronic Pain Trips Up Seniors 3Health News:ADA Launches Community Dental Health Coordinator Pilot Program at Temple University 2Health News:USPSTF Mammography Recommendations Should Be Specifically Excluded From Health Care Reform Legislation 2Health News:USPSTF Mammography Recommendations Should Be Specifically Excluded From Health Care Reform Legislation 3Health News:USPSTF Mammography Recommendations Should Be Specifically Excluded From Health Care Reform Legislation 4
Other medicine definitionOther Tags