I was horrified when police accused me of abusing my baby – but the truth was much worse | The Sun

BEING a parent means you're always hypervigilant when it comes to your little one's health.

So when mum Sammie-Joe Smith noticed her little girl Wendie-Lou had bruises on her skin, she took her to the GP.

At first, she was told the marks were nothing and was sent on her way – but just weeks later, her baby girl was given a leukaemia diagnosis.

The marks didn't fade and Sammie was on high alert after her sister Megan had previously been diagnosed with rectal cancer.

So Sammie-Joe and her partner Gavyn Smith, 36, took their firstborn child to A&E to have her checked over again.

But the 30-year-old was left horrified when police and social workers turned up at their family home in Worcestershire after abuse had been suspected by hospital staff.

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The couple were stunned to be placed on supervised contact for three days meaning a social worker was constantly present while Wendie-Lou underwent tests.

They were then given the devastating news on Wednesday 5 October that Wendie-Lou had stage four Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

The youngster is now undergoing rounds of chemotherapy at Birmingham Children's Hospital to treat the type of blood cancer that affects cells in bone marrow.

Mum Sammie-Joe said: "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!

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"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 said little Wendie-Lou had been presenting with the marks from about six-weeks-old.

The 36-year-old said it looked as though she had poor circulation – but then the marks started to get bigger.

Terri, who is a mum-of-four added that GPs insisted there was nothing wrong until they spotted a mark on her ribs.

She explained: "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 an investigation. That lasted three days."


Terri said this was incredibly hard for her sister, as she then had to rely on other people to stay overnight with her little girl.

While Terri said medics and social services were just following procedure, she added that their response had been 'over the top'.

"Luckily they got a couple of different opinions at the hospital and there was one consultant who listened to Sammie-Joe's concerns.

"She was diagnosed in Birmingham Children's Hospital last Wednesday but only after we pushed and fought for a second opinion.

"If she would have gone home and we hadn't pushed for answers and took the medical advice she wouldn't be here now.

What is acute myeloid leukaemia, what are the signs?

Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer which effects cells in bone marrow and attacks the immune system.

The disease is often classified as what type of cell is affected (myeloid or lymphatic) and how it progresses (acute or chronic).

Acute leukaemia is when it is progressing aggressively and requires immediate attention.

The risk of developing acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) increases with age, with the cancer being most common in adults over 65.

Typically the symptoms of AML can become increasingly more severe over time.

According to the NHS website, the signs to look out for include:

  • pale skin
  • tiredness
  • breathlessness
  • frequent infections
  • unusual and frequent bleeding, such as bleeding gums or nosebleeds

"It makes me sick to the stomach to think a baby would go home that sick."

Looking back on the ordeal, Terri said the situation brought back 'so much trauma', from their experience with their sister Megan.

She said: "There are links between the type of mutations between what Megan had and the type of leukemia that Wendie-Lou has. It just seems too much of a coincidence.

"We had a rough start with Wendie-Lou.

"She started chemotherapy treatment 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."

Writing on Facebook, Sammie has been keeping well-wishers updated on Wendie-Lou's progress.

She said that so much information has been hard to process, adding that many tears have been cried.

Sammie added: "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."

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In a statement, 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."

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