A mother claims her new born child could have been given the wrong treatment and died after being given incorrect identity tags at an Oxford hospital.

Leona Thompson said staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital did not apologise after attaching someone else's details to her daughter Caitlin Wigley's ankle band.

Although JR staff said the mistake was discovered and rectified, their error has been condemned by patient groups who claim it could have been fatal and have called for DNA tests to confirm the baby's identity.

One group even suggested the mum could have been left bringing up a baby which was not biologically hers.

Miss Thompson, 25, who lives with in Harolde Close, Barton, gave birth to Caitlin, who weighed 6lb 13oz, following a Caesarean section on Tuesday, June 12.

Two days later, she was diagnosed with polycythemia - a thickening of the blood due to too many red blood cells - and was taken to the special care baby unit for a blood transfusion.

Former shop assistant Miss Thompson said: "I went down to the special care baby unit with my mum a few hours after Caitlin had been sent there and the staff looked at us and asked whether I was sure she was my baby.

"I asked why, and they said she had someone else's tag on her leg. They then just cut it off and put new ones on.

"I'd just had a C-section and was just concerned about Caitlin's health, but once we got home I started to get more angry about it.

"The mistake could've meant she was given drugs she wasn't meant to have - they could've killed her.

"They didn't apologise at the time and just said there'd been some confusion. They're so busy with really ill babies that I never had a chance to speak to them about it or find out why it had happened."

Although Miss Thompson was in no doubt that Caitlin was her baby, Beverley Lawrence Beech, chairman of the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services, said the new mum should demand a DNA test.

She said: "I'm horrified. How can you mix up ID tags?

"The mother should always be there when tags are put on a baby. This is appalling practice and I'm shocked.

"The implications are horrendous - she could've been bringing up a child that wasn't biologically hers."

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said: "Had that child been given the wrong drugs because staff failed to perform their duty correctly, that would've been gross negligence.

"The terrible thing about this scenario is that this baby needed special care, and the wrong treatment could've been fatal."

A JR spokesman said "robust" checks to minimise the risk of wrong tags being put on babies had been effective in this case. She added: "Caitlin was brought down to the neonatal unit with the correct ID tag in place. The tag needed to be removed temporarily in order for staff to insert a drip.

"A new tag was printed and, on checking, staff realised the name was incorrect.

"Staff were in the process of rectifying this when Miss Thompson arrived at the unit. She was asked to confirm her baby's identity as a third and final check.

"An incident report was completed by staff and the cause of the initial error is being examined by the trust.

"Although the appropriate checks worked, and no harm was done, we're contacting Miss Thompson to offer our apologies and support."