Whether this is a case of professional ineptitude or plain mistake is not known, but doctors at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, near Nashville in Tennessee have erroneously performed frenectomy on the wrong child, cutting the inhibitive tissue underneath its tongue and mouth in an unneeded surgery to correct a “tongue-tie.”
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Little Nate was born at the medical facility on December 16 by 31-year-old Jennifer Melton. Then days after a nurse came to take the baby away for routine check-up, but there was blood in the boy’s mouth when it was returned, causing its mother to raise an alarm - The Independent reports.
“I immediately began crying, wondering what had they done to my innocent child! It's not like he can speak up and tell them to stop,” Melton explained. ”The pediatrician explained to me that he had accidentally asked for the wrong child, and performed the surgery on Nate by mistake.”
The doctor that performed the procedure admitted his mistake when the error was discovered, apologizing profusely to as many as would like to hear his version of what happened.
“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,” he said.
Melton and 33-year-old partner Dominique Harper are now worried that the unnecessary surgery might affect Nate’s eating habits and speech when he grows older. Melton said she hasn’t been able to sleep since the incident, and she feels terribly bad about everything.
“I worry and pray that he doesn't have any issues in the future from what they did with this unneeded procedure,” she said.
About 5% of newborns in the US require frenectomy to correct the connecting tissue between the undersides of their tongues and their mouth, since this makes it very difficult for the child to feed properly or to speak properly at the right time. Some people call it a “tongue-tie” because the tongue is more or less tied to the bottom of the mouth.
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The University Medical Center would not comment on the issue, citing privacy regulations.