"Awful experience with safeguarding team at Royal Free"

About: Royal Free Hospital / Maternity

(as a relative),

My daughter was accused of being a heroin addict by the safeguarding team. A drug test which my daughter consented to taking came up positive for opiates after eating poppy seed bread. Our family and particularly my pregnant daughter were put through complete and utter hell.

It was claimed the only thing that could have caused a positive opiate test, other than illegal drugs was codeine. Ironically my daughter had been prescribed codeine for a painful condition she was suffering from at the time but hadn't taken it as she was worried about the effect on her unborn baby. She made the mistake of being honest by saying she hadn't taken the codeine. She genuinely had no idea what had caused the positive drug test. She was treated in the most disgusting way.

We had to fight and do our own research to prevent my grandson being removed from my daughter at birth. We discovered it was the bread and that there was a test that would prove it wasn't heroin. We were told by one staff member that there wasn't. When we insisted and involved other medics the test was done. The same staff member lied and said the result proved it was heroin. We knew it wasn't so contacted the toxicology department ourselves. They confirmed it wasn't heroin, well we knew that. Both morphine and poppy seeds have exactly the same chemical make up and that was what the test came up positive for.

This same staff member then insisted my daughter was a morphine addict. This person just wouldn't accept that she wasn't a drug user, even though she was clearly the picture of good health. I have never experienced anything like it! Obviously my daughter had stopped eating the bread so the drug tests were now coming back negative. This staff member then accused her of using someone else's urine for the test! We then had to insist a nurse supervised my daughter taking the test.

Still they were insisting my daughter's baby would be removed at birth and placed in intensive care. At one point I had to argue with 4 different doctors. When I threatened to go to the papers they relented. When my perfectly healthy grandson was born and turned out not to be a heroin addict, we didn't even get an apology. After stress that I can't even describe!

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Response from Communications Team, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Communications Team

We're sorry to hear that you were unhappy with your daughter's treatment at our hospital. We issued a full response to your complaint in our letter dated 2 September 2014. If you would like to discuss your outstanding concerns and your options under the NHS Complaints Procedure, Stephen Evans, head of complaints & PALS, would be very happy to talk to you. You can reach him on 020 7794 0500 extension 38263.

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