Sunday 21 January 2018

Midwife mix-up at birth made rich man a pauper

Man who was swapped at birth has won damages
Man who was swapped at birth has won damages

Julian Ryall, Tokyo

A Japanese man born to wealthy parents grew up in poverty after being given to another couple in a hospital six decades ago, while the infant who took his place went on to live a privileged life of private tutoring and university, and is today head of a property firm.

The 60-year-old man -- who has declined to give his name -- was raised reliant on handouts from the state after the man he thought was his father died when he was just two. The woman he considered his mother had to support his three older brothers, and there were few comforts in their one-room apartment as he grew up.

The man had to study at night school while working day shifts in a factory before finding steady employment as a driver with a transport company. He did not marry, and now helps take care of three men who are not his brothers, including one who has suffered a stroke.

The infant who was given to the man's biological parents was born 13 minutes later at the San-Ikukai Hospital, in Tokyo, and grew up in relative affluence.


This boy had a personal tutor, went to university and is the head of a successful property company. His three brothers work for major companies, according to media reports.

Questions were only raised when those brothers recently realised that he bore little resemblance to relatives.

In 2011, the family requested access to hospital records and DNA tests confirmed the mistake.

The error apparently happened when a midwife took the newborn babies to be bathed and then returned them to the wrong mothers.

A Tokyo court this week ordered the hospital to pay the man Y38 million (€273,237) in damages as a result of the mix-up. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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