Second switched-at-birth case discovered at Norway House Indian Hospital
DNA tests confirm one man raised by another man's family
Two men from a northern Manitoba First Nation have discovered they were likely switched at birth at a federally run hospital 40 years ago.
It's the second possible case of infants being switched at birth in 1975 at the same hospital, the Norway House Indian Hospital.
In this latest case, the two were born three days apart. DNA tests confirmed that one man was raised by the biological mother of the other. Both live in Norway House Cree Nation.
"It's shocking," said Norway House councillor Samantha Folster. "It's devastating for the families."
The First Nation is holding a press conference in Winnipeg on Friday morning at 11 a.m. CT with the two men and their parents. Their identities will be revealed at that time.
"I think that there was always, in the back of everybody's minds, that there could have been something that could have happened in the hospital at that time," said Folster, who is related to one of the men.
Last November, two men from Garden Hill First Nation came forward after DNA results confirmed they were not the biological children of their parents. They, too, were born in 1975 at the same Norway House hospital.
Luke Monias and Norman Barkman called on the federal government to launch an investigation into how the switch could have happened.
At the time, Health Minister Jane Philpott said she was "very concerned" about the matter and promised to look into it immediately.
Folster said Monias and Barkman coming forward played a big role in why the men from Norway House decided to get their DNA tested.
"It's an injustice in many ways," she said."The families are affected by the whole situation, and that's the concerning piece for them; it's caused a lot of emotional, mental stress."
Former New Democrat member of the legislature for Keewatinook Eric Robinson slammed Ottawa for its lack of action.
"I think that this is gross negligence on the part of the federal government. It's a federally run hospital," he said Thursday.
Robinson, who himself was born at Norway House Indian Hospital, called on the federal government to launch an external investigation into the Monias and Barkman case last year, while he was Manitoba's Aboriginal and northern affairs minister.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, Health Canada said it is aware of the second case.
"The department has worked to ensure DNA testing was carried out for these individuals in a way that ensured their privacy," the statement said.
Health Canada said it will provide more details on Friday.