A YOUNG mum was left shocked when doctors accused her of “child abuse” after marks on her daughter were wrongly judged as bruises.
Single parent Kirsty Boyd, from Wallasey, was visited by the police and social workers after doctors suspected she had harmed her three-month-old baby.
The 21-year-old had noticed purple blotches on little Poppy-Joy’s foot while dressing her on Monday and immediately contacted her GP to get it checked out.
Her doctor believed the marks could be bruising and referred her to Arrowe Park Hospital for further assessment.
But upon examination, Kirsty says the doctor at the hospital agreed with the GP and suggested that Poppy-Joy had been deliberately hurt and that confirmation was needed.
Distressed from her ordeal, Kirsty left Arrowe Park but was later confronted by police officers and children’s social services who demanded that Poppy-Joy be assessed fully.
The hospital has issued a statement refuting the doctor made a direct allegation of child abuse.
However it became clear that the “bruises” were in fact the results of dilation of blood vessels.
Kirsty, who is also mother to two-year-old Miya, said: “I was getting Poppy-Joy changed in the morning when I noticed these purple blotches all over her foot. When my doctor thought it was bruising, I knew it wasn’t that straight away so was shocked when Arrowe Park agreed and started asking questions about Poppy-Joy’s care.
“The doctor there was filling out some sort of form so I asked what all this was about and she told me ‘we think it could be child abuse.’ “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
"I wouldn’t have minded if they were bruises, because I know they have a job to do but I knew for certain it wasn’t that at all.
“She said I would need to see a consultant for a second opinion but after waiting nearly five hours, I decided I didn’t want to wait around any longer to be accused of hurting my child.
"The next day I had the police round asking why I had left the hospital and then about 20 minutes later, social services turned up.
“They wanted Poppy-Joy to be looked over but I refused to go back to Arrowe Park so went to St Catherine’s Hospital instead.
"Eventually, they said it wasn’t bruising after all but dilation of the blood vessels in her foot.
"They explained the dilation happened where Poppy-Joy’s skin had thinned out and that it would disappear and come back throughout her life. The doctor said it's just something that happens sometimes."
Now Kirsty wants to warn other young parents about the incident and encourage them to stand their ground.
She also wants answers as to why doctors assumed it was bruising straight away and fears for other children whose more serious conditions could go undiagnosed.
Kirsty added: “I want people to know that if you are a young mum asking for help, you may not get exactly what you were hoping for.
"I took Poppy-Joy to the doctor as a concerned mother and the next thing I know is that social services are questioning me.
“It is worrying because it could have been much more serious and the real reason for the marks could have been completely missed because people just assumed they were bruises.”
Kirsty told the Globe today she has now made a formal complaint about her GP practice and is considering a complaint against the hospital.
A statement from Arrowe Park Hospitalread: "“We refute that a direct allegation of child abuse was made. “As a Trust we must follow strict guidelines in line with Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards’ Policies and are confident these were met.
“We will always endeavour to do so, while exploring all possible causes for the child’s condition, in a sensitive way but appreciate that this can sometimes be difficult for parents. However our first priority is the child involved.
“We believe we did so in this case but are sorry if any offence was caused to this family, and as such would encourage them to contact our patient experience team, if they haven’t already done so, should they wish to discuss this matter further.”