Latin America & Caribbean

El Salvador baby swap: Family reunited with son

Richard Cushworth and his wife Mercedes Casanella Image copyright AP

A British father and his wife have been reunited with their newborn son after accusing a doctor at a hospital in El Salvador of swapping him.

Richard Cushworth and his Salvadoran wife Mercedes Casanella said they had been victims of child traffickers.

A Salvadorean judge ordered the switch following a DNA test, four months after the baby was born. The other child has been returned to his family.

The doctor, who denies any wrongdoing, is being prosecuted by the authorities.

At a hearing on Monday, a court ruled the case against Dr Alejandro Guidos should proceed and he could not leave the country. It also ordered that a new DNA test should be carried out following a request from Dr Guidos' lawyers.

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Media captionThe parents are reunited with their newborn baby son

'Horrible experience'

Mr Cushworth and Ms Casanella, who attended the hearing, had originally travelled to El Salvador from the US in May to have their baby in his mother's homeland.

But Ms Casanella says she became suspicious because the skin colour of the baby she was handed to take home was darker than that of the boy she saw after giving birth and their features were different.

When the couple returned to the US they eventually decided to have a DNA test which they say confirmed the baby was not theirs.

Mr Cushworth, who is originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: "It's a horrible situation for me, for her (his wife) for my family, her family. A child is an experience you have for a lifetime... this is a life-long injury that's very, very deep, and it's horrible."

Francisco Meneses, the couple's lawyer, said: "We don't have anything against the people who were involved during the baby's birth, but we want all these people to put their hands on their hearts because from the doctor who performed the surgery, the paediatrician, anaesthesiologist, and the two nurses who were in the delivery room, it's very important for them to tell us what happened."

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