TIMELINE: Rizal babies switched at birth

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Image Credit: Unsplash: Gabriel Tovar

Do you remember how it felt like when you first held your baby in your arms? This is a precious, memorable, and joyful moment for mothers. But on January 18, 2021, this turned out to be the opposite for Aprhil, who had birthed her first born in Rizal. 

We have been following the probable baby-switching incident that happened at H. Vill Hospital in Rizal. Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’s documentation helped us note the timeline of the events.

January 18, 2021 Aprhil Sifiata gave birth to a baby boy. 12 hours passed and the infant was roomed-in, only for Aprhil to see that he didn’t have the similar physical features from her memory and photos. This was further confirmed when the tag, which had a mismatched surname and date of birth, was misplaced on the other leg. Later, a hospital staff admitted that a tag fell off, not knowing if there was a mistake that took place in the nursery. 

January 25, 2021 The hospital agreed to conduct a DNA test. Aprhil and her husband, Marvin, after staying for almost a week at the hospital, decided to take home the baby as they waited. They were also able to reach the couple — the Mullenos — who, the Sifiatas suspect, had their actual infant under their care. The other side expressed their refusal to take immediate action until the DNA test revealed a confirmation.

January 30, 2021 Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho offered to do a second DNA test for Aprhil and the allegedly switched baby, as the results from the hospital were taking time and causing doubts.

February 5, 2021 The Sifiatas sat for an interview with Jessica Soho for the first time. The second DNA test funded by the program turned out to be negative, confirming that the infant in their care is not biologically their own. Eventually, they sought legal advice. Their custody of the baby cared for by the Mullenos can only be claimed if Aprhil’s and the Mulleno baby turns out to be positive. 

At this point, the Department of Health has joined the investigation. According to them, this is the first ever documented case of baby switching in the country. Jaime Lazatin, who conducted the DNA tests for KMJS confirmed otherwise. Last year, they had at least 3 tests done on a similar switching case.

The DOH also found out that H. Vill Hospital has been operating a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) without license. 

In the second week of February, Margareth and Kim Jasper Mulleno came out to tell their side of the story. Margareth did not have the same doubts as Aprhil and started her life as a parent with Kim Jasper at home, until the hospital reached out for what may have been a mistake, 2 days after they left the hospital.

February 12 Both couples met through the program for the first time and they both witnessed the results of Aprhil’s DNA test from the hospital. It came out negative.

February 15 Margareth and the baby in their care underwent a DNA test

February 18 The Sifiatas sought the help of the DOH to file a complaint against the hospital.

February 19 The two parties met again through a video call and confirmed that, as well, Margareth and the Mulleno baby’s DNA samples do not match. The hospital still held off on their cooperation, and the Mullenos were compelled to join the Sifiatas to seek a resolution against the hospital’s negligence.

February 20 Both families decided to meet each other in person. Margareth and Aprhil were finally able to see and hold who could be their real baby, hoping that there would be no other family involved. To seek closure, another DNA test was done, to give clarity to both families, and for them to peacefully take custody of the child that is rightfully theirs.

February 28 KMJS published the confirmation of the cross DNA tests. Both parties’ samples turned out to be positive, proving that the two babies were switched at birth. Since the tests were strong enough to be legal evidence, the families signed an agreement and the infants were brought back to their actual parents right there and then. The hospital still refused to issue a public statement, but offered the Mullenos a refund and apology for the negligence. Meanwhile, the Sifiatas are eager to push for a lawsuit. The DOH is taking action to investigate the case, which may cause a penalty of at least PHP 30,000 and a revocation of license.

After a month of confusion and agony, the Sifiatas and Mullenos were finally able to hold their real children in their arms.

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