WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug. 28 (UPI) — Two men in a remote community in Canada have learned they were switched at birth 41 years ago in a hospital.
Leon Swanson and David Tait Jr. knew each other in the same town of Norway House, with a population of 5,000 people mostly indigenous from the Cree Nation about 286 miles north of Winnipeg.
They were swapped in the government-run Norway House Hospital in 1975. They were born three days apart — Swanson on Jan. 31, 1975, and Tait on Feb. 3, 1975.
DNA testing confirmed that each other’s biological parents took them home shortly after they were born.
Tait said he felt “distraught, confused and angry” during a news conference Friday, three days after the news of the switch surfaced.
“I want answers so bad,” he said. “It’s going to affect us one way or the other, I know that. It’s going to be a long journey.”
He said the people who raised him “would always be (his) mom and dad, regardless” yet he now also has “another brother, another mom and dad.”
David Tait Sr. said “We agreed we are going to be one family.”
Charlotte Mason ended up raising Leon Swanson and Francis Tait raised David Tait.
Another case prompted Tait and Swanson to have their DNA tests. They had suspect they could have been switched at birth based on similarities with each others’ parents.
In November, local government officials said two other men at the same hospital were also switched at birth in the same year — five months later than the current case.
Health Minister Jane Philpott said his agency would start an independent investigation to try to determine whether there are any other cases of baby-switching.
Philpoot said it was an “important reminder” of the “urgent need to provide all indigenous people with high-quality health care.”
“I can’t describe this matter as anything less than criminal,” said Eric Robinson, a former New Democratic Party of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly for Keewatinook. “We can live with one mistake, but two mistakes of a similar nature is not acceptable, so we can’t simply slough it off as being a mistake, indeed it was a criminal activity in my view.”