Mother Endures Ordeal of False Abuse Accusations, Separation from Children Over Misdiagnosed Baby’s Marks

Ashleigh Ratcliffe, a 31-year-old mother, faced a harrowing two-month ordeal when she was falsely accused of child abuse after seeking medical attention for marks on her newborn daughter’s foot.

Despite her explanations, she and her partner were suspected of harming their baby, resulting in social workers becoming involved and the threat of arrest looming over them.

Misdiagnosed Marks Prompt False Abuse Allegations

The nightmare began for Ashleigh Ratcliffe when she noticed red blotches on her three-month-old daughter Dottie’s foot and sought medical advice from her GP.

Concerned about a potential vitamin deficiency, she arranged for blood tests at Birmingham’s City Hospital. However, without her knowledge, the GP reported the marks as a “non-accidental injury,” leading to suspicions of abuse.

Fear of Losing Children Amidst False Accusations

Ashleigh’s fears of her children being taken away became a reality as she and her partner faced allegations of abuse, with threats of arrest if they attempted to leave the hospital.

Despite Ashleigh’s explanations about her eldest son’s hereditary condition, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, doctors dismissed her concerns, and the family endured a traumatic period of separation and suspicion.

Traumatic Ordeal Ends with Medical Revelation

After enduring excruciating tests and investigations, including threats of arrest if she sought further medical opinions, Ashleigh sought a private consultation.

A specialist confirmed Dottie’s condition as Raynaud’s Phenomenon, similar to her older brother’s, ultimately leading to the family’s exoneration.

The misdiagnosis and subsequent ordeal have left Ashleigh and her family traumatized but relieved to be reunited.

Council and Trust Response

While the Sandwell Children’s Trust emphasized their commitment to safeguarding procedures and following medical advice, Ashleigh’s experience highlights the need for greater sensitivity and accuracy in child protection cases.

The family’s ordeal serves as a cautionary tale about the potential consequences of misdiagnosis and the importance of listening to parents’ concerns in medical assessments involving children.

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