Social services separated a mother and her ten-day-old baby for two weeks after doctors misdiagnosed a common medical condition.Ooops!
Dee Crawford, 19, had her newborn son Michael taken away from her and spent more than a fortnight under suspicion from social workers and police for assault.
The young mother had found a bump on her baby's head and quickly sought advice from her health visitor.See, this is the thing – why can’t they act with this kind of speed in other cases? Instead of dragging their heels and prevaricating about ‘uman rights…
But within hours Michael had been placed into care and she was facing criminal charges.
Ms Crawford, from Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, has now been reunited with her baby after doctors eventually realised Michael was suffering from a swelling condition called cephalohematoma, commonly caused by a traumatic birth.I like the ‘eventually’ there – actually, it was a different doctor that pointed this out…
Michael, who had been placed on the Child Protection Register before his birth because his mother had previously suffered from depression, was born on January 19 by emergency caesarean at the University Hospital of North Durham.And she believed them. Why not? They are professionals after all…
Midwives found a bump on his head at birth but reassured Dee there was nothing to worry about.
It was ten days later on January 29 that her nightmare began to unfold when Ms Crawford noticed swelling to Michael's head. She told her midwife who advised her to take him to hospital.So, it presumably wasn’t recorded anywhere on her notes? I can see the NHS database folks latching on to this one!
Social services and the police were at the hospital where Ms Crawford was told Michael needed scans, X-rays and blood tests. The baby boy was kept in overnight and had more tests the following morning.
But when Ms Crawford arrived at the hospital the following day believing she would be taking Michael home she was confronted with the news that doctors believed the bump was 'recent'.
Worse was to come when Dee was arrested on February 9 and questioned on suspicion of assault before being bailed.So, not a case of ‘doctors eventually realising’ at all, but on one doctor contradicting others.
Desperate to get her son back, Ms Crawford pushed for a second opinion from another doctor.
On February 13, more than two weeks after Michael had been taken from his mother, a top paediatrician at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary examined Michael and ruled the bump was 'definitely' cephalohematoma.
After relaying his findings to social services Ms Crawford was allowed to take Michael home that night.Let’s hope she wins…
She was told in a letter from Durham Police that she would no longer have to answer bail 'as a result of new medical evidence'.
Ms Crawford, who is engaged to Michael's stepfather Gary Smith, 30, is now launching legal action against Social Services and Durham County Council.
A Durham County Council spokesperson said: 'For reasons of confidentiality, it is not appropriate for us to comment on individual cases.Or any old medical advice you happen to get, really….
'However, we would never consider removing a child from a family in the context of a suspected injury without first taking expert medical advice.'