Today one of those things happened that you think only happens in nightmares.
I took the kids to the GP as they’ve both had chesty coughs for about 7-10 days. Gp checked the toddler first, all good, no concerns just a “viral cough” same diagnosis reached for Vivienne. When taking her clothes off to check for rashes (she had a small rash on her back-nothing of concern to the GP or I. ) the GP pointed to a small bruise on Vivienne’s inner thigh.
Immediately, she said that she was making a referral to the hospital.
Before I processed what was happening, she was on the phone to the paediatric ward telling them she was making an urgent appointment for a 44 week old with unexplained bruising. It dawned on me pretty quickly what she was insinuating. I was shook up and straight away my “fight mode” switched on. I definitely wasn’t polite, and asked what I was supposed to do about the toddler for the afternoon, and the teen when she came home to an empty house because my husband is currently in Germany. The GP just sat in her chair telling me how it was protocol and she was just doing her job and she wanted to make sure there wasn’t maybe an underlying illness. (Bullshit- she could see that I was very upset, and was making a feeble attempt at talking me down from my shock and anger) I didn’t really calm down, other than to ask if she was going to do anything about the kids coughs. (She wasn’t) before I left the surgery.
Luckily I have some fantastic friends who were at my house at the time, and they helped me tidy before taking Sebastien off for the day so I could get Vivienne down to the hospital all the while with the GP’s lasts words echoing in my head
If you’re not there on time, or refuse to go or don’t show up within 6 hours it’s an automatic referral to Child services
I was in panicked mama bear mode and roaring at the injustice of it all. I was angry. So angry that I was being made to feel belittled and accused of the unthinkable. (Whether or not the accusation was voiced out loud- the insinuation that came with the referral broke me- I felt like I had been dropped in to a Witch hunt, and I was supposedly the Witch) I knew I needed to calm myself and focus on driving Vivienne to her appointment.
Thank goodness again for my very kind friend and for my Mum in Law, who between them stayed on the phone (hands free of course!) with me all the way to the Hospital.
I finally got parked and lugged the pram down 2 flights of stairs in to the Hospital (no lift from the upper floor car park- and annoyingly today of all days I didn’t have a wrap with me!) I found the ward in the maze of corridors, where I was met by a lovely nurse, and explained why I was there. I was a bit snappy with the nurse, but mainly because I was so scared. I felt like all eyes were on me and panicking about how I didn’t have childcare for long as it wasn’t fair on my friends.
Vivienne was weighed, obs done and then the consultant ushered us both off to a private room along with the nurse.
In the interest of complete disclosure, and because I do not have anything to hide, I was utterly transparent, I informed her that I’m currently undergoing CBT for anxiety, and that I’ve blogged about my temper and anxiety issues in the past if they wished to read them, ( you can find the posts here and here) but also told her that I was pretty pissed off by the entire situation, because I felt vilified, and because of the inconvenience and hassle of it all- not to mention time being taken away from genuinely sick children. (Despite the feeling of outrage I was completely confident that they would look at the bruise and dismiss any kind of concern- which of course is exactly what happened)
We sat in the private room and I signed some consent forms in relation to the questionnaire and and examination of Vivienne.
The consultant completely understood my distress, and we built up a nice rapport as we rattled through the questions, including when I’d first noticed the bruise which was the evening before in the bath, where I’d tried to wash it off as it just looks like a dirty mark of some sort. She looked at the bruise and agreed that her first instinct would be to try and clean it off just as I had done the night before before forgetting about it!
It was obvious that the consultant wasn’t concerned and was just completing the paperwork as part of protocol. She had photos taken of the bruise, and after signing yet another consent form (for the photos) we were sent on our way- just like that. It was all over. Vivienne was fine. I was fine. It was all ok. I did also ask if it was ok to blog about my experience- and she agreed that of course it is ok for me to share this blog, as well as the photos.
Thinking about it, today was terrifying for so many reasons, and the over zealous actions of the GP sent me spiralling in to a blind panic. For a few hours I felt sick, but imagine how sick you would feel if something was ignored or dismissed by a GP, and a child is harmed. (Just think of some famous cases that have ended in tragedy- notably baby P)
Today was a shocker of a day, and I’m still reeling (hence the hastily written post with some suspect grammar) but it is over. Vivienne is safe. I am safe. The authorities are happy that my kids are safe, and no matter how awful today has been, I know today happened because there are people out there that hold child welfare at the very top of their list.
Edited*2 days on:
Thinking back to how the GP referred us, and her attitude towards me and the fact that she didn’t actually know the guidelines herself and the used a referral code for a non mobile baby (despite Vivienne crawling and cruising) and the fact that I was most likely in shock when I originally wrote this post, I think I will be making a complaint to the GP. I feel sick and disgusted. She didn’t do her job properly. She bullied me in to taking my child for an unnecessary medical examination!
Edit* complaint letter sent to the gP. I never want any parent to be made to feel as scared and upset as I have been since this.
I can’t imagine what a frightening experience this must have been for you but I have to stand up for the GP. Far better that a well cared for child is referred unnecessarily than an abused child is overlooked (Victoria Klimbie, Peter Connelly, Daniel Pelka to name only a few). It is horrible to have to think the unthinkable but sadly there are monsters out there and as much as it was an unpleasant experience for you, missing child abuse in a child who is subsequently murdered by their abuser must be unbearable.
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Thank you. It was pretty scary. I get exactly what you’re saying, and I applaud GP’s that do make the call properly. . I’m all for GP’s doing their job when it comes to safeguarding children, I think I alluded to that in my post, however, what I’m not for is a GP who doesn’t know the procedure properly going about it in a clumsy way that only serves to cause distress. The consultants reply letter from the hospital even goes on to explain that the procedure was not followed properly. If she really wanted to safeguard children, then surely she would do it properly, because not knowing the procedure tells me she also won’t know some of the markers to look out for, and they’re very clearly explained in the NICe guidelines.
Oh my god. That bruise is tiny! I’ve taken my two to the GP before now with worse bruises than that and no-one’s ever batted an eye lash! I understand people saying the GP is just doing her job, but there needs to be some common sense! Kids bruise so easily and if they’re anything like my two, they’re always falling over in the garden or falling off things they climb on! I would have been just as angry as you. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky
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I’m not sure I’d have been so magnanimous. I understand things need to be checked but come on.
My sister has an accident prone child who is constantly bruised like a banana and they used to undergo the same stuff here in Ireland. It got to the point where they were reclutant to attend hospital and doctor visits. It’s mad.
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This is just terrible and you are kind at the end of your not sure I would of been so kind great post Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please
That all sounds awful, I think you’re being very magnanimous with the end of your post! Did the GP even ask how she got the bruise? My baby has had worse bruises than that just from the usual mobile baby stuff! I totally understand the need for safeguards but this sounds like a massive overreaction.
I suppose I get why she was being over cautious, although it does all scream *newly qualified by the book* gp rather than employing a bit of common sense! She did ask and I said I suppose it was either the car seat or the fact that she’s cruising and climbing everything or maybe her brother (he’s 2 and loves to give her hugs ) but she was just “well it’s unexplained then and needs to be assessed” I agree that it was a massive overreaction and I’m still pretty angry. I get it, but what a horrid horrid day. It makes me scared to do anything with my kids now! What happens if one of them hurst themselves and needs A&E? Will I be under scrutiny because I have a “history” (rather than an overzealous GP!)
That must have been an awful experience 😦 But as you say, they’re just doing their jobs. X had an accident when he was 11 months old – he had been walking for about 3 weeks when he fell into his toy shelf and cut his eyebrow open. We immediately rushed him up to A&E to be checked over – they glued his cut back together and gave us plenty of leaflets on infant concussion. A week later I received a letter from the local health visiting team saying they would be visiting us at home, but no reason why. I assumed it was his 1year check up, but no, they wanted to check I wasn’t abusing him! When I opened the front door to the HV, X came toddling up to the door and she just went “Ahhh, we’re walking are we? That explains it…” and that was that. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s good that they’re checking up. For the 90% of cases where there’s nothing wrong, it’s worth it to catch the 10% of cases where a child needs help. #thatfridaylinky
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