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British mother stranded in Spain after hospital “seizes” newborn baby for DNA test (6 July 2015)

Date: 06/07/2015
Duncan Lewis, Child Care Solicitors, British mother stranded in Spain after hospital “seizes” newborn baby for DNA test

A mother whose newborn baby was seized by a Spanish hospital has alleged they seized her child because of her race.

The Daily Mail reports that British mother Stacie Cottle, 27, went into labour early at her mother’s flat on the Costa del Sol on 16 June. Ms Cottle says the birth was so quick that there was no time to call for an ambulance to take her to hospital to have her child.

She took her baby Anzelika to hospital at Velez-Malaga the following day to be checked – but was told that a DNA test would have to be performed to prove she was the mother of the child.

She added that instead of a “caring welcome” at the hospital, she was treated “ with suspicion” by hostile staff – who claimed it was impossible the baby was hers and called police.

Ms Cottle said she was told by one doctor at the hospital that “no baby had been born outside the hospital in ten years” – and that her baby was “too old to be a newborn”.

Ms Cottle added that had taken maternity documents and scans to the hospital, which proved she had been pregnant – but they had been taken from her.

Ms Cottle was then subjected to an internal examination – which proved she had given birth – before doctors accepted she was a new mother.

However, they still insisted Anzelika could not be hers – and took the child into social services care while a DNA test was carried out.

Because of the delays, Ms Cottle did not meet the ten-day deadline for registering her baby as a British citizen in the UK. She added that the British Consulate had been supportive, but it had no jurisdiction.

She alleges that the hospital is treating her in this way because of her race – Ms Cottle is black and comes from Stratford in east London.

The hospital has denied the allegation, however.

However, Ms Cottle said:

“They do have a problem with immigration – and you have the problem of migrants trying to have babies here.”

She added that hospital staff had talked about the issue openly in front of her.

“I have heard it all – people have said maybe I’m from Senegal or from Kenya, irrespective of my British passport. Everyone treats me like I am a baby thief – they are calling me a criminal,’ Ms Cottle said. “It’s ridiculous.”

She has not left the grounds of the Hospital Comarcal de la Axarquia since her daughter was born more than a fortnight ago – and is still awaiting the DNA test results. A hospital source has told her they have “no idea” how long this will take, however.

Ms Cottle added:

“It is the worst thing I could ever have imagined – all I want is to be with my daughter. Being separated is not in the best interests of either of us. There is absolutely no confidentiality – everybody in the hospital is talking about it.

“Every day I think that maybe today will be the day the DNA results come, but it never is.”

Miss Cottle – who is separated from her baby’s father – is allowed to sleep on another ward at the hospital and breastfeed her baby. However, she alleges nurses fail to call her when her daughter needs feeding and, against her wishes, her baby is given formula feeds instead.

Ms Cottle also alleges that she has only been able to see her other daughter – who is aged three – for brief periods because the toddler is not allowed on the ward and she herself is too scared to leave in case she is not allowed back into the ward.

Her elder daughter is being cared for by her 53-year-old mother, Veronica – an English teacher – who said:

“She is not supposed to be apart from her baby. It is racism – that is why we are here.”

However, a hospital source said staff intervened because a paediatrician “felt it was necessary”.

The source added that the decision to remove Ms Cottle’s baby and perform a DNA test had “absolutely nothing to do with immigrants at all”.

The Mail reports that police, social services and courts in Velez-Malaga have declined to comment – or did not return requests for comment on the case.


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For expert legal advice on child care matters, call Duncan Lewis solicitors on 020 7923 4020.

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