Newborns pay the price for age-old prejudice

An accidental swapping of babies has once again cast the spotlight on the ugly reality of Indian families’ preference for boys.

It all began when Nandamma from Konasirasagi village in Kalaburagi district and Nazmin from Kadammagera village in Yadgir district went into labour on December 14 and gave birth almost at the same time in the same labour room.

While the mothers, who delivered by caesarean section, were still on the operation table, a Group D attendant handed over the baby boy to Nandamma’s parents and the baby girl to Nazmin’s. Shortly afterwards, both the women were shifted to the post-operative ward.

It was then that the hospital staff realised that the babies had been accidentally swapped. They decided to correct their mistake and tried to unite the babies with their biological mothers. Nazmin willingly parted with the baby girl but Nandamma and her parents refused to give up the baby boy. Clearly, neither of them wanted to believe that the baby girl was theirs.

In an attempt to convince the families, senior doctors conducted blood grouping tests and concluded that Nazmin had delivered the baby boy and Nandamma the baby girl. But Nandamma’s parents doubted the genuineness of the test reports, and insisted on another test in a private hospital. This, too, was done but the results remained the same. Yet Nandamma and her family refused to accept that the girl was theirs.

As the dispute dragged on, both the babies were looked after by the hospital staff. “We could not hand over the newborns to the parents before the issue was settled,” said Dr. Sandeep H, Associate Professor and Head, Paediatrics Department, Kalaburagi District Hospital.

As the matter remained unresolved, it was taken to the police. The doctors and the police convinced the new mothers and their families to take ownership of their respective infants.

But Nandamma and her husband Siddappa have demanded a DNA test. The police and the hospital authorities have agreed to this demand.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 3:59:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/newborns-pay-the-price-for-age-old-prejudice/article22084367.ece

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