DNA testing has revealed that two long-life friends in Canada were switched at birth in Norway House Indian Hospital in Manitoba in 1975. David Tait Jr. and Leon Swanson and his families are going through a tough time now that they know the truth. However, authorities are conducting an investigation to find out how that happened and who is to be held responsible.
Swanson was born just three days earlier than Tait, as reported by the Associated Press. It was not difficult for them to become friends as they were members of the same indigenous community.
Eric Robinson, Manitoba’s former aboriginal affairs minister, said results of the DNA testing showed that Charlotte, Swanson’s mother, happened to be the biological parent of Tait Jr. She informed that additional testing of Swanson and the Tait family was pending, according to the Washington Post.
“Forty years gone, I don’t know,” Tait said, as reported by The Post. “Just distraught, confused, angry.” With tears in his eyes, he told reporters he wanted answers.
As for Swanson, he was tearful and could not find words to convey the way he felt.
David Tait Sr., the father of Tait Jr., told the National Post that he had one day realized that his child started to have a different aspect but that he said to himself “But who am I to say that he’s not mine?” He added that he and his wife now know they have an extra son, and he expressed he hoped everything would “work out that way.”
In a statement released Friday to the CBC, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said, and independent third party would try to find answers by going through hospital records. The statement reads that the results of the investigation would be published. Philpott noted that such cases remind Canadians of the urgent need of providing all Indigenous people with proper health care.
He assured that the government was “deeply committed” to improving relationships with the Indigenous people and offered his sympathy to the families involved in this case.
Not the first case of people switched at birth
The case involving Tai Jr. and Swanson marks the second time something like this has been made public in recent months. A separate case related to the Norway House Indian Hospital came to light late last year after DNA testing confirmed that another pair also born in 1975 had been switched, according to a report by the CBC. Luke Monias and Norman Barkman told reporters it was a hard thing to know and that they wanted answers for them and their families.
The National Post reported that the Norway House hospital immediately provide babies born today with identification wristbands and that emergency births are conducted about once every two months.
At Friday’s news conference, Robinson said such situations were unacceptable and that the affected families deserved to understand how the apparent accidents could happen twice in the same year. He mentioned that there had always been rumors about Tait and Swanson in the community because they looked more like their friend’s family.
Robinson also remarked that the switch affected their entire families because challenges and pain would certainly come in the future.
“What happened here is lives were stolen. You can’t describe it as anything less than that,” Robinson expressed.
Source: Washington Post