Queensland Health to Consider Disciplinary Action to Hospitals for Giving Babies Wrong Milk

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By Reissa Su | June 25, 2014 7:04 PM EST

Australia's Queensland Health has announced it will investigate the use of expressed breast milk in hospitals after two babies were given breast milk from the wrong mother at both Caboolture and Logan Hospitals.

REUTERS/Stringer
A nurse takes care of a premature newborn baby inside an incubator at a hospital in Changsha, Hunan province. Picture taken October 30, 2013.

One baby boy was already cleared of any symptom of infectious disease, while another infant will be tested next week.

Queensland Health spokeswoman Dr Jeannette Young said the investigation will examine the state's standard procedures for storing and using breast milk. The agency will also look into cases of babies in hospitals who were given the wrong milk.

According to Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, while the standards for using breast milk remain strict, human error is always possible. He said the risk of infection was "always negligible."

Queensland Nurses Union spokeswoman Beth Mohle said it was important health officials can ensure that best practices were being observed in Queensland hospitals. She said it was important to learn from past mistakes.

The chief medical officer of Queensland will consider imposing disciplinary action to errant hospital staff involved in the breast milk mix up.

The three-week-old baby at Caboolture Hospital, who was tested for possible HIV, has been cleared from any sign of the disease. The parents of another baby in Logan Hospital expect their child to undergo blood tests for HIV and hepatitis by next week.

The mother of the baby in the Logan Hospital was interviewed by media. Speaking anonymously, she expressed her shock at finding out her baby was given the wrong milk. A spokesperson for the hospital has apologised for the mix-up and said the midwife was no longer an employee at Logan.

On June 23, Caboolture Hospital acting Executive Director Keith Love revealed on 4BC radio that the breast milk mistakenly given to the baby came from a "healthy" mother and not from a person infected with HIV. Love said the parents had not been informed of the latest results, but he was kept on hold by the host to call the baby's parents. The health service representative said the results of the investigation will be evaluated to ensure it will not happen again. He said the hospital staff involved had received counseling pending further investigation from state health. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Stringer / )
A nurse takes care of a premature newborn baby inside an incubator at a hospital in Changsha, Hunan province. Picture taken October 30, 2013.
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