This is an absolute disgrace, not only has the hospital misused Social Services their actions threatened the Child minder’s livelyhood; an allegation of ‘child neglect’ is not only a criminal offence it could threaten her ability to care for other children;
Saturday, Mar 08 2014
Sarka Celliers was investigated for neglect after a doctor pricked a nurse with a needle carrying her baby's blood
A couple were reported to social services for refusing to let hospital staff test their nine-week-old baby for HIV.
When their son developed a slight temperature one night, Pete and Sarka Celliers took him to hospital as a precaution.
But their visit to St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey, led to them being investigated for neglect, treated ‘like scum’ and left fearing their baby would be taken away.
They say their nightmare began when a consultant was carrying out a blood test on their son in A&E.
As the consultant handed the needle to a nurse she accidentally pricked the nurse’s skin.
Two hours later, during which time the couple claim they were left in a bay without a bed for their son, they were asked for permission to test him for HIV/hepatitis because the nurse’s skin had been pricked with his blood.
Mr Celliers, 38, said: ‘The whole thing was very unprofessional, the first time they took about five tries to get the line into my son’s tiny hand.
'He was screaming in pain and my wife and I were in tears.
‘It was almost 4am and they had already removed the cannula from his hand and given us no real care.
‘There was no way I was going to put my son, who had just fallen asleep after a traumatic night, through that ordeal again. It was not in his best interest.’
Mrs Celliers, 35, said: ‘We offered to be tested instead, whatever we have our son would have, but they declined.
'He was born at the hospital and they have all our records, what could have possibly have happened to him in just nine weeks?’
Having discussed the baby's condition with another paediatrician who said his tests were clear, the Celliers took their son home at 4am.
Concerns: When the baby developed a slight temperature one night, his parents took him to St. Peter's Hospital in Chertsey as a precaution. However, the next day the hospital repeatedly called the couple at their semi-detached £550,000 home in Walton-on-Thames, asking them to bring their son in for further tests.
Mr Celliers said: ‘I couldn’t see why we should, he was happy and playing. They said he could have meningitis, which was obviously not the case as the tests were clear and he had no symptoms.
By now we had lost all trust in St Peter’s. I refused and said he was well but I would get a second opinion – at which point the doctor threatened to report us to social services. I thought it was a spiteful act.’
Then two social workers arrived at the couple’s home. The couple were told the surprise visit was due to a referral from St Peter’s because they had ‘refused medical advice … regarding a very young baby’.
Mrs Celliers, a childminder, said: ‘I was in bits, I honestly thought they had come to take my baby away. They looked at us like we were scum.’
Pete and Sarka Celliers were paid a visit by social workers because they had 'refused medical advice... regarding a very young baby'
After the couple explained what had happened they said the social workers were happy all was well.
The couple took their son to a different hospital, Royal Surrey in Guildford, to get a second opinion on his condition.
Mr Celliers said: ‘Two hospitals, looking at the same tests, came to two very different conclusions.
'It just confirms to me that St Peter’s just wanted to get their hands on him for the HIV tests to cover themselves against any mistakes made when the nurse was injured.’
After writing a complaint to Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital Trust about their visit on January 23, Mr Celliers also requested his son’s medical notes – which showed that he was referred to as a female throughout.
‘That just tells me that my son was not their priority, they didn’t even know he was boy,’ he said.
Surrey County Council confirmed that social services visited the Celliers following a referral from St Peter’s. A spokesman added: ‘No concerns were identified and the case was closed.’
The Trust’s chief nurse, Suzanne Rankin, said: ‘We are sorry to hear the family’s experience of our hospital was not better and are particularly concerned that they felt harassed by members of our staff.
‘We look forward to meeting with the family and to hearing their feelings and concerns in person, and will work hard to address their issues so no other families have the same or similar experience.’
A spokesman for the Trust added: ‘In this case a small baby was taken home against medical advice.
‘Small babies can deteriorate over a few hours and in good faith our staff wanted to carry out a further clinical review to make sure the baby’s health hadn’t deteriorated.
‘That level of concern is enough to trigger a referral to social services. At that point the consultant in charge was not aware that the family were planning to take the baby to their GP or to an alternative hospital.’
(a don’t stop till you drop production