The Tokyo District Court has ordered a hospital to compensate a 60-year-old man for all that he has endured after it was found out he was actually switched at birth. They need to pay 38 million yen (approx. US$375,000) in damages for the emotional pain caused by the switch as well as lost life opportunities because of the situation.
According to the ruling, the man was born in March 1953 at San-Ikukai Hospital in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward. The hospital is operated by San-Ikukai, a social welfare corporation in the same ward.
Hospital staff mistook him for the son of a couple whose real son was born 13 minutes after he was delivered.
After the man’s “father” died in 1955, his “mother” raised him and two real sons while on welfare.
The court noted that a person’s academic status is not predetermined by the family background. But it acknowledged that the plaintiff suffered mental anguish because he was raised in an environment where he could not expect to receive a college education.
The court said it determined the amount of damages by also taking into consideration the fact that the man was denied contact with his biological parents and siblings for about 59 years.
The court also said the parents were entitled to 6 million yen. But since they are dead, the court ordered San-Ikukai to pay that amount to the man’s three younger biological brothers, who were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The man’s biological parents suffered because they “permanently lost an opportunity to live with their own son, even though they were unaware of the mix-up while they were alive,” the court said.
The brothers’ doubts about their eldest brother deepened after their mother said “the newborn baby, when he was brought to me, was wearing clothes different from those I had prepared.”
The brothers found their real brother after the Tokyo District Court granted their request to examine records on babies born at the hospital.
An official at San-Ikukai declined to comment on the ruling.
[ via AFP ]