NICU baby at Fort Worth hospital fed breast milk from mom with damaging virus

Paperwork shows a baby at a Fort Worth hospital was mistakenly fed milk from a mother who tested positive for a virus that can cause developmental problems in babies.

Baby Stella, who weighed 2 and a half pounds at birth, had been receiving her own mother's milk mixed with a fortifier. But then mom Sara Tynan got a call from officials at Texas Health Southwest while her child was still in the NICU.

“Doctor explained someone made a mistake. The wrong milk was mixed, she got it. That's all I was told,” Tynan said.

Discharge papers show Stella was fed the wrong milk four times June 6 through June 7.

“They explained it is similar to if I cut myself and you had a cut and my blood got mixed with your blood,” Tynan said. “I couldn't breathe or catch my breath because I'm thinking all of the worst. “

After days of waiting for blood test results, they got the news.

“Doctor said we got the test result back, the milk Stella ingested did have CMV,” Tynan said.

While CMV is common in adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in babies, CMV can cause growth problems with the brain and lungs and can even cause hearing loss.

Tynan said hospital officials couldn’t say how the mistake occurred.

It turns out, just weeks later, another baby at a Texas Health hospital also got the wrong milk. That happened at Texas Health Harris in the Fort Worth hospital district.

Kandace Espinosa told her breast milk mix-up story to FOX4 on Friday. Tynan hopes her story combined with Espinosa's will spur change.

“It can't happen again,” Tynan said. “By the grace of God she's fine, I could not imagine if she wasn’t fine.”

In a statement, Texas Health officials said: “With patient safety our top priority, we have conducted a thorough review to learn what happened in these two cases. Human error played a role in both incidents, so we are reinforcing safeguards with those caregivers to better avoid this in the future and better ensure that they correctly follow the error-prevention tools we have in place. These types of incidents are extremely rare, but as an organization dedicated to high reliability, we take each and every error seriously.”