A 19-year-old Spanish woman is demanding three million euros, about R$18 million, for damages caused after being exchanged, as a newborn, with another baby and given to a family that was not her own.
The facts date back to 2002, when at the San Millán hospital in Logroño, a health center that no longer functions, a “human error” occurred, as explained by authorities in the region of La Rioja (northern Spain).
This exchange of the two babies, two girls born on the same day five hours apart and placed in incubators, was only revealed fifteen years later.
A family conflict over the alimony of one of the young women culminated in the carrying out of DNA tests, which determined that she was not the biological child of either the man or the woman who until then believed to be her parents.
The young woman, raised by whom she believed to be her grandmother, filed the complaint, feeling strongly harmed by the mistake.
It was “huge lifelong damage, (which) is never repairable,” his lawyer José Sáez-Morga told AFP.
The 19-year-old requires three million euros, but the health authorities in La Rioja – which, like all regions in Spain, have the competence in health – offer to pay 215,000 euros (about R$ 1.3 million) , said Sáez-Morga.
“We carried out a pertinent investigation, which is conclusive that human error occurred,” regional health official Sara Alba said on Tuesday.
“It was not possible to conclude who” was at the origin of the error, “since the systems were not computerized with so much detail for 20 years,” Alba told the press.
But “we are available to families to provide all the necessary support they may need, maintaining confidentiality and respect for this type of situation,” he said.
It was “a punctual human error that cannot be repeated today. We are also ensuring that this does not happen again. We are not aware of other cases,” he said.
According to the young woman’s lawyer, the results of the DNA tests of the other family, which so far have not appeared in court, are unknown.
At the judicial level, judges must rule on the merits of the case and, in particular, on the necessary correction of their marital status before deciding on compensation, added Sáez-Morga.