Tuesday 20 March 2018

Families whose babies were accidentally switched at birth discover mistake through a Facebook post

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Two women who were born in the same Italian hospital realised they had been accidentally switched at birth when one of their mothers spotted her biological daughter in a Facebook picture.

Loretta Cobuzzi and Antonella Zenga were born 11 minutes apart in 1989 and were accidentally handed to the wrong mothers in a mistake by hospital staff.

Although the women were raised just three kilometres apart, the negligence was not discovered until the Loretta’s parents Caterina and Michele came across a photograph on Facebook which featured a woman who bared a close resemblance to Caterina.

The couple also noticed that the daughter they had raised, believing her to be their own, looked very much like Antonella’s mother, who also featured in the photo.

It is thought that the Cobuzzis contacted the Zengas after realising the girls had the same birthday. DNA tests then unveiled the mistake.

The families are now suing the Italian Health service for €22m.

Loretta Cobuzzi (26) spoke of the moment her parents told her of the mistake.

“I felt physically sick. They sat me down and told me they had something important to tell me,” she told The Daily Mail.

“They said there had been two families at the hospital that day. They said the babies had been swapped. The feeling was terrible. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

“Antonella, who has naturally curly hair, looks just like my official mother Caterina, while Elisa looked exactly like me. It was like seeing myself in a photo,” she said.

Loretta has since fallen out with the parents who raised her after marrying a man they didn’t approve of. Loretta and Antonella have only met once but have never spoken.

“It was so strange,” she said.

“Because for our entire loves she should have been in my place and I should have been in hers,” she said.

The pair had two very different upbringings as the Cobuzzis were a stable family who ran their own business, while Antonella was placed into care at a young age after her parents abandoned her.

Loretta’s case will be heard in Italian court next month.

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