Mother tells of her horror after she was quizzed by police and accused of abusing her 15-week-old baby because of bruise-like marks on newborn’s skin – which later turned out to be leukaemia
- Sammie-Joe Smith, 30, took her baby Wendie-Lou to hospital with bruising
- She was mortified when a police officer and social services turned up
- Sammie-Joe was later told Wendie-Lou had stage 4 Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
A mother who was ‘accused of child abuse’ and quizzed by police after taking her 15-week-old baby to hospital with bruising has been left heartbroken after the marks turned out to be leukaemia.
Sammie-Joe Smith, 30, took daughter Wendie-Lou to see a GP after unexplained bruises began appearing under her skin and claims she was told by a doctor they were nothing to worry about.
But having lost her younger sister Megan to rectal cancer just a year ago at the age of 27, Sammie-Joe began fearing the worst when the marks failed to fade.
Sammie-Joe and her partner Gavyn Smith, 36, took their firstborn child to A&E only to be suspected of abuse, she says.
The couple were mortified when a police officer and social workers turned up at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
They were then stunned to be placed on supervised contact for three days meaning a social worker was constantly present while Wendie-Lou underwent tests.
But on October 5, the couple were given the devastating news that Wendie-Lou actually had stage four Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
Sammie-Joe Smith with daughter Wendie-Lou and partner Gavyn – the couple took the baby to Worcestershire Royal Hospital with bruise-like marks
The youngster is now undergoing chemotherapy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to treat the type of blood cancer that affects cells in bone marrow.
Sammie-Joe, a former carer, took to Facebook to share the heartbreaking news and has been keeping well-wishers updated about Wendie-Lou’s progress via a blog on social media.
She said: ‘After weeks of knowing that something wasn’t quite right but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it on it but no matter now hard I tried to tell myself everything was ok I just couldn’t shake off this gut feeling of anxiety, worry and concern for our baby girl.
‘But after not giving up and expressing our concerns over and over, and even after being told there’s nothing wrong we still pushed for answers.
‘This involved a whole lot of tests and procedures but we finally [received] the most devastating news Wendie-Lou has Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
‘There has been a river of tears cried and been hit with so much information that it’s been hard to process.
‘But no matter how hard this journey is gunna be and with a mountain to climb we are ready to fight and win no matter what it takes.
‘And I know your not here physically Megan but I know your be by her side every step of the way.
‘We will keep you updated we are gunna need all the love and support we can get!’
On October 5, Wendie-Lou was diagnosed with stage four Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)
She had earlier posted about her disgust at being questioned after taking Wendie-Lou to hospital.
She wrote: ‘Can’t get my head around all of this!
‘I knew there was something wrong and had been taking Wendie-Lou to the hospital on many occasions but instead we were accused of child abuse and had the police and social services to us and had to have supervised contact!
‘Makes my blood boil that they were quick to do scans to check for broken bones instead of doing the tests and scans she actually needed to be diagnosed & get the treatment she actually needs!
‘And all the social worker could say today was I’m so so so sorry!’
Sammie-Joe’s sister, Terri Smith, 36, a mum-of-four, said: ‘From about six or seven weeks old Wendie started to present with these bruise like marks under her skin.
‘It almost looked like poor circulation, that was probably the first instance. One appeared and they started to get larger.
‘Sammie took her to a number of GPs in August and they told her nothing was wrong until they spotted one bruise on her rib.
‘The marks weren’t going away, they were just getting worse, so they took her to Worcester Hospital.
‘But the hospital suspected abuse and they contacted the police without telling Sammie-Joe, next minute you know there’s an officer and social worker there.
‘She was really upset but you try to stay calm. Even my mum and dad got questioned over it.
‘I had a call saying it was going to child protection services and there was investigation. That lasted three days.
‘You’ve got to have a social worker there constantly. She wasn’t allowed to stay overnight at the hospital. She had to put her trust in other people
‘It was over the top. I’ve worked in child protection before, I kind of knew they were just following procedure but they weren’t listening to what she was saying.
‘Luckily they got a couple of different opinions at the hospital and there was one consultant who listened to Sammie-Joe’s concerns.’
Wendie-Lou’s mother had feared the worst when bruise-like marks appeared on her daughter’s skin
Terri said the diagnosis brought back so much ‘trauma’ after what happened with Megan.
‘There are links between the type of mutations between what Megan had and the type of leukaemia that Wendie-Lou has,’ she added. ‘It just seems too much of a coincidence.’
Terri said Wendie-Lou started chemotherapy last Friday but then she got a virus which attacked her lungs. She’s now on the oncology ward.
‘It’s been really tough on her, she’s already shown that she’s a little fighter.
‘I felt like for a long time we let Megan down. We’re not going to lose this battle, we’ll win this one. We’ll do whatever it takes.’
Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘We appreciate the impact and distress that a child being diagnosed with cancer has on any family and are sorry to hear of Wendie-Lou’s diagnosis.
‘We are unable to comment on individual patient care for confidentiality reasons, but we would encourage the family to get in touch with us directly so that we can discuss any concerns about care.’
MailOnline has contacted West Mercia Police for comment.
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