Surgical Error Leads to Healthy Baby Mistakenly Receiving a Frenectomy

In December 2015, Jennifer Melton gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tennessee. Nate was only a day old when he was taken for a surgical procedure that he was never meant to have.

Nate was in the hospital’s nursery when he was taken by a nurse for a frenectomy whereby the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth was cut. This is a surgery that another child was meant to undergo to remediate his “tongue-tie.”

A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure of the mouth that removes one or both of the frena (connective tissue membrane that attaches one surface of the mouth to another). A lingual frenum is a connective tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This is the frenum that is removed when a child has a “tongue tie” that affects their ability to speak and/or feed properly.

The nurse brought Nate back to his mother after the procedure and began to explain the post-surgery care process. It was only at this point that Jennifer realized that her son had undergone an unnecessary surgical procedure.

The surgeon responsible for the erroneous frenectomy called Jennifer over the phone to apologize and confessed that he had made a mistake and asked for the wrong baby in error.

Jennifer began a medical malpractice lawsuit early in 2016 to sue the hospital for unspecified damages. Whilst frenectomies can help children with speech and feeding issues due to a “tongue-tie,” they can also cause these same issues when performed on children who do not have a “tongue-tie.”

Clint Kelley, a medical malpractice attorney based in Nashville said that he was shocked by the lack of a safety protocol for the nursery and that Nate was fortunate that he underwent a minimally invasive procedure. The outcome could have been far worse, but he indicated that it is unacceptable to make surgical errors such as this one either way.

Legal Matters

If you or a family member has suffered as a result of a surgical error, then you should contact a qualified NYC medical malpractice attorney immediately. Each medical malpractice case is unique and the law differs from state-to-state. You will need guidance from someone familiar with the complexities of medical malpractice law as well as the laws applicable to NYC.

As an NYC resident, your NYC medical malpractice lawyer will explain that you need to know how the surgical error occurred and that you can explain what the surgeon could have done to rectify the error. They will then guide you through a sequence of legal steps that need to be followed and assist you with them. These steps generally include:

  1. Contacting the surgeon involved
  2. Contacting the appropriate medical licensing board
  3. Finding out what the Statute of Limitations is
  4. Getting a certificate of merit
  5. Considering settling out of court


If you believe that you or a family member may have experienced some form of surgical error, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP in NYC today and speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys.

When you are ready to talk, we are ready to listen. Call (800) 660-2264 for a free, confidential consultation.