Court in Urals orders hospital to pay over $200,000 in baby swap scandal

A court in the Chelyabinsk region ordered on Monday to pay three million rubles ($101,200) to two families each, whose children were accidentally switched at birth 12 years ago.

The Belyayev and Iskanderov families demanded moral compensation of five million rubles each, but the court ruled that the maternity ward, where the mistake took place, should pay three million rubles to each of the complainants.

The families learned about the mistake accidentally after 12 years of raising each other’s daughters. The Belyayevs filed documents for a divorce and the father asked for their daughter’s DNA test to establish paternity.

The test revealed that neither of the Belyayevs were the biological parents of their daughter and the following police investigation established that their real daughter was living with the Iskanderovs.

It turned out that the staff at the maternity hospital in the Chelyabinsk region mixed up the baby tags after the mothers had given birth to their daughters.

Natalia Shtreker, a lawyer for the complainants, said both families are pleased with the court’s decision and have no intentions of appealing it.

“We are satisfied with the result and with the amount of compensation. We believe that it [the amount] is fair,” she said.

The two girls are still trying to absorb the news that the parents who brought them up are not their real parents. Both families have stated their reluctance to return their children to the appropriate biological parents.

The lawyer also said that the biggest problem for both families is the cultural difference as the Belyayevs family raised Iskanderovs’ daughter in line with the European traditions, while the Iskanderovs, who originally come from Tajikistan, brought up their girl in line with Muslim traditions.

“It is difficult to say how this problem will be resolved in the future. Even the parents have still not decided how to cope with it,” Shtreker said.

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