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:10/22/2014)... October 22, 2014 Hay House is pleased ... Addiction and Upgrade Your Life (Paperback; $10.82) written by the ... & Recovery. This book is meant to help readers ... life of recovery. , Recovery 2.0 is not the ... Recovery 2.0 is a guide for what comes next. ...
(Date:10/22/2014)... 22, 2014 Healthcare professionals who ... continuing education at home or on-the-go via laptops, ... 20 brand new, premium Seminar-on-Demand CE courses. The ... over 2,000 hours of CE course ... educational experience. With such a diverse library, there’s ...
(Date:10/22/2014)... 2014 Richard Carlson, Managing Partner of ... with over 25 years experience. Mr. Carlson is ... areas related to EDI, B2B Commerce, RFID and Internet/Intranet ... Advisory Board member for Pharmaceutical Commerce Magazine and a ... Group is a management and technology consulting firm focused ...
(Date:10/22/2014)... sisters in high school have developed ways to measure ... use electronic stethoscopes, which electronically amplify body sounds, to ... heartbeats. Ilina, a senior at Port Huron Northern ... to detect early lung damage in people exposed to ... one breath cycle each from 16 smokers, 25 nonsmokers ...
(Date:10/22/2014)... HealthDay Reporter , MONDAY, Oct. 20, 2014 (HealthDay ... for health workers treating Ebola patients, now requiring full body ... at all times. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control ... Dallas nurses contracted Ebola while caring for the first ... Duncan. Nina Pham is currently being treated for her infection ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):Health News:Hay House Announces The Official Release of Recovery 2.0: Move Beyond Addiction and Upgrade Your Life 2Health News:Hay House Announces The Official Release of Recovery 2.0: Move Beyond Addiction and Upgrade Your Life 3Health News:Top Provider of Continuing Education at Home Releases 20 New Online Courses 2Health News:Rich Carlson and Marc Duey to Hold Workshop at CBI’s Specialty Pharmacy and Distribution Networks Conference 2Health News:Teen Sisters Develop Ways to Measure Lung, Heart Damage 2Health News:CDC Tightens Rules on Caring for Ebola Patients 2Health News:CDC Tightens Rules on Caring for Ebola Patients 3
... by the Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of prostate ... A new study shows abiraterone acetate extends the lives of ... four months. The study in the May 26, 2011 issue of ... Thomas W. Flaig, MD, medical oncologist at the University of Colorado ...
... Calif. A woman,s risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy ... pregnant based on routinely assessed measures of blood sugar and ... the online issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics ... Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., studied 580 ...
... traumatic stress with war-afflicted populations (veterans and civilians) and ... research professor in the department of psychology and the ... the University of Houston (UH), decided to study another ... eighth grade. "Teaching is a highly stressful ...
... , WEDNESDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Taken in ... the cholesterol-lowering medication Pravachol, appear to significantly raise blood ... is most apparent -- and concerning -- among diabetics, ... noted. "This interaction may affect as many as ...
... field, poised to take a crucial penalty kick, "I always had a ... do" says sports psychologist Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis. "I was setting the ball and ... of shots; then I had that thought striking me that it was ... he recalls, "and I did miss." Even then, he could see that ...
... Medications are the mainstay of treatment for epilepsy, but for ... many as 1 million in the U.S. drugs don,t ... as refractory or drug-resistant epilepsy, in which drugs can,t control ... last month, Dr. Christopher DeGiorgio, a UCLA professor of neurology, ...
Cached Medicine News:Health News:New drug treatment extends lives of men with prostate cancer 2Health News:Diabetes can be predicted 7 years before pregnancy with blood sugar and body weight 2Health News:New University of Houston research study links job stress in teachers to student achievement 2Health News:New University of Houston research study links job stress in teachers to student achievement 3Health News:Combo of Paxil, Pravachol May Raise Blood Sugar 2Health News:Combo of Paxil, Pravachol May Raise Blood Sugar 3Health News:Thoughts that win 2Health News:Unique nerve-stimulation treatment proves effective against drug-resistant epilepsy 2
Other medicine definitionOther Tags