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:7/5/2015)... ... July 06, 2015 , ... Security Life Insurance ... announce the next generation of PrimeStar Individual Dental Insurance. Beginning now, enhancements include ... network options—Maximum Allowable Charge (MAC) and usual, customary and reasonable (UCR). , ...
(Date:7/5/2015)... ... ... Doctors at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, Washington say with careful ... for people with pleural mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the full story. ... patients treated with 25Gy of radiation over five days just prior to surgery had ...
(Date:7/4/2015)... ... July 04, 2015 , ... Tyler Boden, Project ... technical sales expertise from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP®), ... most highly respected and well established national certification organization for renewable energy professionals. ...
(Date:7/3/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... July 03, 2015 , ... Scientists at ... susceptible to mesothelioma with even minimal asbestos exposure. Click here to read the ... the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and New York University ...
(Date:7/3/2015)... Orange, CT (PRWEB) , ... July 03, 2015 , ... ... at home is a good blender and easily accessible, quality ingredients. Aurora Natural is ... your smoothie for an added boost of fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals! , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):Health News:Security Life Insurance Company of America Launches the Next Generation of PrimeStar Individual Dental Insurance Plans 2Health News:New Mesothelioma Study Calls IMRT/Surgery Combo “Innovative and Promising”, According to Surviving Mesothelioma 2Health News:Local Solar Professional Earns Industry's Most Prestigious Certification 2Health News:Local Solar Professional Earns Industry's Most Prestigious Certification 3Health News:Study Finds Small Amounts of Asbestos May Trigger Mesothelioma in People with Genetic Mutation, According to Surviving Mesothelioma 2Health News:Aurora Product, Inc. Announces An Original New Line: Smoothie Fixins’ 2
... to navigate and hunt prey. By bouncing sound waves ... diet, bats can produce an accurate representation of their ... of Southern Denmark and the University of Pennsylvania have ... physical trait never before seen in mammals: so-called "superfast" ...
... -- One-quarter of American adults received treatment for high blood ... Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Of those 55.1 ... 29 percent were black patients who incurred more than $1,000 ... 27 News and Numbers summary. The research, ...
... Campus-wide smoking bans appear to help university students cut back ... stems from a comparative analysis of smoking patterns on two ... we haven,t pinpointed which element of the campus-wide smoke-free air ... smoking rates, having such a policy in place does appear ...
... WASHINGTON, DCThrough the identification of a gene,s impact on ... Center continue to make progress in understanding the ... repair of white matter, known as myelination. The study, ... of The Journal of Neuroscience , identified ...
... cancer and diabetes appear to have some biology in common. According ... Press journal, Cell, a pathway that initially drew attention ... the odds that mice develop or resist diabetes. Mice ... more sensitive to insulin and less prone to diabetes when on ...
... Sept. 29, 2011 Hormone researchers at the University ... long-term treatment options for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases ... estrogen. They now believe that this estrogen ... in both females and males. While estradiol is more ...
Cached Medicine News:Health News:Penn researcher helps identify 'superfast' muscles responsible for bat echolocation 2Health News:Penn researcher helps identify 'superfast' muscles responsible for bat echolocation 3Health News:1 in 4 U.S. Adults Treated for High Blood Pressure: Report 2Health News:Campus Smoking Bans May Help College Students Quit 2Health News:Children's National researchers make breakthrough in understanding white matter development 2Health News:Children's National researchers make breakthrough in understanding white matter development 3Health News:Diabetes and cancer: A shared biological basis 2Health News:UH researchers explain hormonal role in glucose and fat metabolism 2
Other medicine definitionOther Tags