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Parents heartbroken as wrong baby cremated after Sydney hospital mix-up

It happened when two babies — one stillborn and one miscarried — were mixed-up at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital last year because staff incorrectly identified with a blanket label, leading them to believe it was the other baby.

New South Wales Health Minister Jillian Skinner apologised for the incident.

The revelation came this afternoon as the minister fronted a budget estimates hearing.

In June and July of this year, a baby boy died and a newborn girl suffered suspected brain damage after they were mistakenly given nitrous oxide instead of oxygen at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital.

The hearing was told in April this year a woman discovered her dead 89-year-old mother had been wrongly identified at Royal North Shore Hospital.

Ms Skinner was asked how she would address the family.

“What would I say? I’m devastated for them, and I’m really sorry such an event occurred,” Ms Skinner said.

In another case at the hospital, a stillborn baby and a miscarried baby were mixed up, resulting in the wrong baby being cremated.

Ms Skinner said she wasn’t aware of the mix-ups, and would have ordered an investigation if she had been.

“If it was brought to my attention, I would seek advice from the ministry about what happened in that particular case, whether it was isolated, and what measures have been taken to address it,” she said.



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