Black L.A., 1947: Mother Sues Hospital Over Baby Mix-Up

April 12, 1947, James Sperling
Jewell Sperling with her son James Sperling Jr., Pittsburgh Courier, April 12, 1947.

April 3, 1947: Jewell Sperling of 714 W. 32nd St., sues Hoover Hospital for $3,500, charging that she suffered mental distress from being sent home with the wrong baby.

Sperling said that she gave birth to a son Jan. 10 and was sent home Jan. 13. A few hours after being discharged, she received a call from Dr. Morris J. Pilson, the hospital superintendent, requesting that she return to the hospital with the baby.

April 3, 1947, Baby Mixup

I can find no further information about the Sperling lawsuit.

Four years earlier, the hospital was named in another lawsuit over charges of a baby mix-up. In 1943, Mr. and Mrs. Harry James Hardwig sued the hospital for $500,000 after being sent home with a baby girl, although Mrs. Hardwig was originally told that she gave birth to a baby boy.

Hospital officials insisted that the Hardwigs had been given the correct baby, a girl whom the parents tentatively named Patricia Lynn. Dr. John M. Andrews testified that after the birth, Mrs. Hardwig was hemorrhaging so badly that he was more concerned about her than the sex of the baby and hurriedly signed a birth certificate listing the baby as Richard Allen Hardwig. The defense said that the baby was the only one born at the hospital for eight or 10 hours, and insisted that Patricia Lynn was the parents’ baby.

In 1944, the Hardwigs settled their lawsuit out of court.

July 21, 1943, Baby Mixup

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, African Americans, Crime and Courts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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