FALSELY ACCUSED OF ABUSING OUR OWN SON- DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER- EXCLUSIVE STORY- APRIL 2009

Matthew Dean and his wife Katie contacted us after their son was taken following a misinterpretation of a medical scan.


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We had our baby taken away for a year over a doctor's blunder.

DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER


A soldier and his wife had their baby taken away for almost a year after a doctor misread an X-ray.

Lance Corporal Matthew Dean and his wife Katie were accused of abusing Louie and were suddenly faced with the threat of losing all their three children.

The ordeal started with a hospital scan when Louie was two months old which found blood between his brain and skull.

He had been thriving despite being born five weeks prematurely with a slightly enlarged head and floppy limbs.

Further X-rays seemed to show no more injuries until a doctor claimed she could see a broken rib.

Louie's father, who has served with the Princess of Wales Regiment in Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland, and mother were told they could not be trusted with him.

It was only after almost a year of misery that a judge ruled that the blood on Louie's brain was the result of an accident and that the rib had never been broken at all. The doctor had misread the X-ray.

Social services then realised their case was so weak that they did not even bother to cross-examine the couple in court.

Cuddling Louie, now 18 months, Mrs Dean, 32, said last night: 'Social services treated us like something they'd stepped in and were desperate to build a case.

'Doctors and social workers have an important job but in this case they've over-reacted on a suspicion, rather than facts. Louie had one injury, and that was accidental.'

Lance Corporal Dean, 34, said: 'Nothing can ever repay us for that year away from Louie.'

The couple, from Southampton, met in 2002 and have a five year-old daughter Daisy.

Mrs Dean has another daughter, Charlotte, nine, by an earlier relationship.

Katie and Matthew Dean

Katie and Matthew Dean on their wedding day in 2004

Louie was born in August 2007 near Hanover, Germany, where his father had been posted. Because his head was enlarged, the couple were told to take him to a civilian hospital for regular check-ups.

After the scan found the blood between his brain and skull, he needed two operations. Louie also developed meningitis but was eventually sent home with his parents.

The cause of the blood remained a mystery but Army social workers said their should be no problem as German doctors could find no evidence of other injuries.

The family returned to England for Christmas but X-rays had been sent to Southampton General Hospital consultant radiologist Jo Fairhurst.

Court documents show Dr Fairhurst believed 'there was a healing fracture' of a rib 'suggesting non-accidental injury'.

On the strength of her opinion, the Deans were told they were to be arrested for child abuse when they returned to Germany.

A document from the British Forces Social Work Service informed them that Mrs Dean's mother Christine Long, 62, would have to take charge of their son.

Mrs Long moved temporarily to Germany to watch over Louie 24 hours a day while investigations continued.

The only way the couple could regain the right to look after him was through the UK courts, so LCpl Dean gained a transfer in January 2008.

Hampshire social services took over the case and told them Louie would have to live with his grandmother on the other side of the town.

Last December, the couple were finally able to look after their son again when a judge rejected a bid to place their three children in care.

The High Court in Portsmouth heard that the blood on Louie's brain was probably the result of an accident or could have simply happened spontaneously.

His parents suspected it dated from his difficult birth.

More importantly, a German doctor assured the court that the 'rib fracture' was a misreading of a line on the X-ray created because Louie's lungs and spine had moved.

The judge said: 'I cannot find it proved that Louie suffered a fractured rib. I conclude it is very unlikely either of these parents was responsible for causing the bleeding between his brain and skull.'

John Coughlan, Hampshire's director of children's services, defended the 'necessary but proportionate intervention'.

He said: 'We went to great pains to ensure Louie stayed within the care of the family.'

A hospital spokesman said Dr Fairhurst was working overseas and he was unable to comment in her absence.



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