20-year-old baby mix-up costs French clinic £1.4m

Sophie Serrano, right, poses withdaughter Manon, who she unwittingly raised as her own. Picture: Lionel Cironneau
Sophie Serrano, right, poses withdaughter Manon, who she unwittingly raised as her own. Picture: Lionel Cironneau
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A COURT yesterday ordered a private clinic in the Riviera city of Cannes to pay out €400,000 (£300,000) each to two 20-year-old girls accidentally switched at birth and given to the wrong parents – part of a €1.9 million (£1.4m) payment to members of the two families.

The clinic’s lawyer, Sophie Chas, said she was unclear whether an appeal would be lodged at the court in Grasse.

Ms Chas said the court ordered payments by the Clinica Jourdan and an insurance company of €300,000 for each of three parents involved in the case and €60,000 for three brothers and sisters.

“I am perfectly satisfied [with the ruling] because responsibility within the medical chain was acknowledged,” the lawyer for the victims, Gilbert Collard, said.

The families had sought a total of €12m, but had little hope of obtaining that amount, he said. A nurse’s assistant had accidentally given Sophie Serrano’s baby, who was in an incubator, to another mother after her birth in July 1994, and gave Sophie Serrano the infant in the next incubator.

Three years later, the girl, who the Serranos called Manon, developed curly hair and an olive-toned complexion – unlike either parent. The couple broke up after village rumours spread about the girl being “the postman’s daughter”.

In 2004, DNA tests showed that Manon was the daughter of neither of her supposed parents. An investigation revealed that their biological child was located less than 20 miles away.

Sophie Serrano, who raised Manon, said: “It’s a relief. We have waited for this for so long.”

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