The only time Marie Giameos has rushed through the emergency doors of the Mount Druitt hospital with her distraught infant in her arms – she walked out feeling even worse than when she came in.
“I walked out the door with my baby in my arms and got in the car and just lost it,” the mother-of-four told Kidspot.
“I can’t believe anyone would think I’d do that to my child.”
Marie contacted Kidspot after we ran a story yesterday of a father in the US warning other parents about the dangers of Hair Tourniquet Syndrome after his baby girl almost lost her toe when a strand of hair was wrapped so tightly around it.
Poor Alena had the hair wrapped tightly around her finger several times in November.
“She was screaming and squirming. It was quite traumatising!”
On November 29 last year, Marie was bottle feeding Alena and noticed her finger was swollen.
The 22-year-old mum, from St Marys in western Sydney, claims a doctor at the emergency department at Mount Druitt hospital accused her of deliberately wrapping a strand of hair several times around her two-month-old daughter Alena’s tiny finger.
Alena was suffering from Hair Tourniquet Syndrome where a strand of hair wraps so tightly around a baby’s body part that it can cut off the circulation.
“I had read about Hair Tourniquet Syndrome on a Kidspot post and immediately realised what was wrong with her,” Marie says.
“But the swelling had covered the hair so I couldn’t get to it.”
Marie claims the doctor accused her of deliberately harming little Alena.
Doctor was concerned for my baby’s safety
Just when Marie didn’t think the ordeal could get any more stressful, the doctor said something to her which knocked her for six.
“Halfway through, he asked how I had not noticed it before now and that this could not have been done accidentally,” she says.
“He told me he was concerned for my baby’s safety and that it was done on purpose. He told the female nurse to make a phone call.”
The doctor then continued to remove the hair from the baby’s finger which took about 15 minutes.
Marie rushed to Mount Druitt Hospital with her distressed angel where a triage nurse assured her that what had happened to Alena was actually quite common.
“I sat in a chair and had Alena held close to my chest while the doctor stood next to me holding her hand and unravelling the hair by hand,” she explains.
“He was digging at her skin with his fingers while she was screaming and squirming. It was quite traumatising!”
“Once it was removed he went into another room and left me and Alena waiting,” Marie says.
“I said to my dad, who was with us, that I thought they were calling DOCS.”
Marie sat there sweating and crying in a mad panic for about 10 minutes.
“All I could think of was my other three kids and that DOCS could investigate and even taken my children from me.”
Marie was worried the accusation could result in her losing all of four children.
“It can happen to anyone.”
Marie advises parents to be extra vigilant with their little ones.
“It can happen to anyone and it’s no one’s fault,” she says.
“I know it’s hard to notice but you need to always check carefully and regularly because it swells quickly.”
Doctors had never heard of the syndrome
She then breathed a massive sigh of relief when both the doctor and nurse returned and said they could leave because “apparently it was common”.
“There was no apology – they were shocked that I was allowed to leave – they couldn’t believe it because they have never heard of it,” Marie says.
Marie fell apart when she finally got her baby girl back to the car.
“I will never forget the looks and judgement I received – I felt really terrible,” she says.
Marie urges all parents to be extra vigilant with their babies.