Couple put through three 'weeks of hell' by social services who thought mark on their newborn baby's foot was a bruiseParents Kelly Cook and Ian Hutchison feared losing baby AvaSeven-week-old had unexplained mark on her footHealth visitor noticed blemish and called social services
Daily Mail Reporter
17:06 GMT, 3 February 2013
00:41 GMT, 4 February 2013
A couple were banned from being alone with their baby and investigated by police when a mystery mark appeared on her foot.
Kelly Cook, 31, and Ian Hutchison, 35, were accused of harming seven-week-old Ava by social workers.
They endured ‘three weeks of hell’, petrified that their first child would be taken away.
Hellish: Kelly Cook said she and partner Ian Hutchison went through 'three weeks of hell' when they were accused of hurting newborn Ava
Blemish: A health visitor found the unexplained mark on baby Ava's foot and called social services
Their torment eventually ended when a dermatologist ruled the reddish mark was not a bruise.
While the investigations went on, the couple were not allowed to be alone with Ava and they moved in with Mr Hutchison’s parents to keep her in their care.
Their ordeal began when a health visitor noticed the blemish during a regular check-up.
She was convinced it was a bruise, which a baby so young could not have caused herself, and police, doctors and social services were drafted in.
Within hours, the couple, of Shirley, Southampton, were under scrutiny at a hospital as paediatricians and a dermatologist examined Ava.
Mystery: The worried parents had explained to doctors that the unexplained mark on Ava's foot would disappear and reappear
They could not rule out a birthmark, so Miss Cook, a legal secretary, and Mr Hutchison had to bring her back two days later.
But a dermatologist was not available then and, as the mark had faded, it was judged to be a bruise.
Ava had to undergo numerous tests,
scans and X-rays as her parents desperately insisted that the mark kept
appearing and fading.
They even provided photo evidence but were told
Ava was subject to a Section 47 Child Protection Inquiry, meaning social
services believed she was at serious risk of harm.
But, while staying with Mr Hutchison’s
parents, the family did not hear from social services for nine days.
was not until a social worker visited on December 31 that the mark was
seen appearing and disappearing, proving it was not a bruise.
Safe and sound: Ten minutes after a dermatologist confirmed that Ava had not been injured the case against her worried parents was closed
Under suspicion: Ms Cook and Mr Hutchison were told that they could only keep Ava with them if they stayed with his parents
A week later, an examination by a
dermatologist finally confirmed this. Less than ten minutes later, the
couple were told the case was closed and they could take Ava home.
However, they said, there was no
apology or explanation and they have lodged a formal complaint at the
way Ava’s case was handled.
The couple also want to know why she was not checked for so long if she was deemed to be at serious risk.
‘We endured three weeks of hell when we should have been happily bonding with our baby,’ said Miss Cook.
‘Had they listened to us and looked at
the photos I had taken of Ava’s foot, this could have all been cleared
up within two days.
‘Instead our first few weeks with Ava were ruined as we were petrified we might lose her. We’ll never get that time back.
‘We couldn’t go anywhere without Ian’s
parents and even my parents had to be police checked before we could go
to their house for a visit’
Ava will have a dermatology appointment to determine what the mark is.
A Southampton council spokesman
declined to comment on individual cases but said it ‘follows a standard
procedure based on national guidelines’.
Petrified: Kelly Cook said she would never get the time back which she had spent worried that she would lose Ava