Hospital tongue-tied after a newborn surgical mix-up

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Diana Williams has the story of a medical mixup in which surgery was performed on the wrong child. (Shutterstock)

Little Nate was born healthy and happy, a normal newborn, all his parents could hope for.

But hours later, a doctor -- without the parents' signed consent -- performed a surgical procedure on Nate that was apparently meant for another child.

Not long after his arrival, Jennifer Melton's newborn went for what she thought would be a routine physical. When Nate returned to his mother, a nurse started to mention the procedure that had been performed to clip the newborn's tongue.

Melton's attorney, Clint Kelly, says a University Medical Center doctor performed a Frenulectomy, cutting a flap of skin from under the child's tongue, a treatment for infants born with a condition that restricts the tongue's range of motion.

But little Nate's tongue was normal.

"Essentially, they took our child, who was healthy, from the room and cut his mouth," Melton said. "We don't know if the child will have speech problems or eating problems. The concern here is this was a healthy baby that was supposed to leave the hospital, but instead was harmed by the hospital."

The doctor did not make excuses, writing in a progress report from the hospital: "I had asked for the wrong infant...I had likely performed the procedure on an infant different than the one I intended to...and I admitted my mistake and apologized."

But for Melton, that's small consolation. She trusted the hospital would care for her newborn, and now she is left wondering what the future holds for little Nate.

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