Parents reunited with baby ‘swapped’ in El Salvador hospital

The gynaecological hospital in San Salvador. Picture: Google Maps
The gynaecological hospital in San Salvador. Picture: Google Maps
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A BRITISH father who feared his baby had been swapped at birth and sold to human traffickers in El Salvador has reportedly been reunited with his son after authorities tracked down the child by ordering other new mothers have their babies DNA tested.

Richard Cushworth, 41, originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire, and his Salvadoran wife Mercedes Casanellas had suspected that a doctor at the ­hospital where she gave birth exchanged their child for another as she slept.

After attending a special court hearing before a judge yesterday, the couple were told that their biological baby had been identified and the swapped babies handed back to their respective families, according to a news website.

Attorney general Luis Martinez said: “We have returned the babies to their legitimate parents. We hope that this has not happened on other occasions.”

Mr Martinez said that a review of private and public hospitals’ protocols would take place. The couple’s doctor, Alejandro Guidos, was arrested but protested his innocence after being bailed. Prosecutor Dinora Siguenza alleged yesterday Dr Guidos was responsible for not following correct procedures and is still being investigated.

The couple left the Gynaecological Hospital Centre in the country’s capital San Salvador with the newborn but made a public appeal on local TV three months on, after a DNA test revealed the boy was unlikely to be their biological son.

Mr Cushworth said: “God has given us this child and somehow, somebody has taken him from us and we want him back.”

Francisco Meneses, the couple’s lawyer, added: “We don’t have anything against the people who were involved during the baby’s birth. But we want all these people to put their hands on their hearts because from the doctor who performed the surgery, the paediatrician, anaesthesiologist, and the two nurses who were in the delivery room, it’s very important for them to tell us what happened.”

The Gynecological Hospital Centre launched an internal investigation.

Ms Casanellas, 39, initially became suspicious when she noticed the features of her newborn differed from those of the boy doctors handed her the day after she gave birth by emergency Caesarean in May. In particular, she thought the second baby had darker skin.

She took the child to the couple’s home in Dallas, Texas, but the pair, both missionaries working in El Salvador, returned to the Central American country after family members also expressed doubts.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “A full investigation has been launched by local police and we will provide all the assistance that we can.”