Local News

Sent wrong newborn footprints, Duplin County mom trying to find right baby

Posted January 28, 2020 6:27 p.m. EST

— A woman who delivered her baby at Duke University Hospital ended up getting a surprise delivery in the mail.

One week after Evelyn Shields-Cowley returned home to Duplin County, the hospital sent her a certificate with the footprints of another infant.

Carson Cowley was born at 1:09 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

Shields-Cowley and her husband, Jeremy Cowley, carried their boy home to Pink Hill.

They got Carson’s footprints on a certificate at the hospital. Shields-Cowley has kept certificates with the infant footprints of all five of her children.

“It’s really like the first thing that’s officially them, like, has their name on it and identifies them,” she said.

A week passed when envelope arrived in the mail, addressed to Shields-Cowley and labeled "confidential." Her husband opened it.

“He goes, ‘Did you have another baby that you didn’t tell me about?’” Shields-Cowley said. “I was like, ‘What?’ ‘Did you have another baby a couple of days before Carson and just zipped back up?’”

Inside the envelope were the footprints of a baby named Evelyn.

The line under “was born to” is blank.

Baby Evelyn was born Dec. 28, four days before Carson. She was a pound lighter and an inch longer.

“Literally nothing was the same,” Shields-Cowley said. “I’m like, ‘How did they mess up that bad?’ I’m like, ‘That’s not our baby.’”

She called the hospital and was told someone would look into it.

A hospital employee advised against mailing the footprints back.

“Maybe whoever gets them doesn’t take it seriously and just throws them away,” Shields-Cowley said she was told.

She called the attending physician's office but never heard back.

“I posted them on Facebook after a week of trying to get a hold of the hospital,” she said.

The post kicked up a lot of response.

One woman wrote, "Gosh, how hard can it be for the hospital or doc to look up the record?"

A Duke Hospital spokeswoman said that she spoke with Shields-Cowley and that the hospital is working to unite the footprints with the correct baby.

“I could not imagine not having my baby’s first footprints,” Shields-Cowley said.

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