February 5, 2016 3:27 pm
Updated: February 5, 2016 6:56 pm

Hospital performs procedure on wrong newborn, clips child’s tongue without parents’ permission

WATCH ABOVE: A newborn baby in Tennessee was wrongly operated on shortly after his birth. The doctor has admitted to mistakenly operating on the wrong infant and now the parents of the child are unsure of the baby's future. Nick Beres reports.


A doctor in Tennessee has admitted to performing the wrong procedure on a newborn baby without consent, and now the child’s parents are unsure of the infant’s future.

Nate was born at the University Medical Center in Lebanon , Tenn., and was “perfect, healthy and beautiful,” according to the child’s mother, Jennifer Melton.

Shortly after Nate’s birth, an employee at the hospital took the infant for what Melton thought was a routine physical.


When the baby was returned a few hours later to Melton, a nurse told her he underwent a procedure.

“The nurse started to mention the procedure they had done [and] that they had clipped his tongue,” said Melton to WTVF News. “At that point I began to cry hysterically.”

The procedure performed on Nate was an frenectomy, which in this case was the cutting of the flap located under Nate’s tongue.

This is done, usually on a newborn, when there is a restriction of movement of the tongue, therefore allowing more mobility. However, Nate’s tongue was normal.

“Essentially they took our child who was healthy from the room and cut his mouth,” said Melton to WTVF.


The unidentified doctor, who performed on the baby, has admitted to his mistake and wrote in a progress report:

“… I had asked for the wrong infant. I had likely performed the procedure on an infant different than the one I intended to … and I admitted my mistake and apologized.”


Melton’s attorney said the apology doesn’t right the doctor’s wrong.

“There is no excuse on operating on the wrong baby, none,” said Clint Kelly, Melton’s attorney to WTVF. “It’s recklessness. There’s no excuse for cutting on a healthy child. There’s no excuse for mixing up babies at a hospital.”

Kelly said it’s unclear what the lasting impact, if any, on Nate will be.

“We don’t know if the child will have speech problems or eating problems. The concern here is this was a healthy baby that was supposed to leave the hospital, but instead was harmed by the hospital,” said Kelly to WTVF.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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