Jacqui Bradshaw was an exhausted mum of a newborn baby when she took her son Mason, who was just three-and-a-half months old, to the family doctor.
A normally happy and well-sleeping baby, Mason woke one morning after a poor sleep, clearly agitated. But it was more than that.
“There was something not right about the way he was holding his leg,” Jacqui tells Mamamia. “I went to bounce him on his hip, and he was holding his left leg out strangely.”
Concerned, Jacqui took him to the doctor to get checked out by her local doctor in Darwin. On the basis of a suspected broken leg, little Mason was sent for x-rays, but the results were inconclusive. So the doctor ordered his leg to be placed in a half-leg cast.
After that was done, Jacqui returned home with her baby, but noticed a few days later that the plaster had seemingly rubbed against his leg because there was bruising around that area of the cast. As a result, her GP then sent Jacqui to hospital – and that’s when her nightmare really began.
“It was the worst day of my life. The first thing the nurse at the hospital did was strip Mason off, and check his body for bruising. She found a yellow bruise on his rib, and became really worried.”
After repeat x-rays, the nurse told Jacqui that he had a spinal fracture, and that because Mason was under two years of age, mandatory reporting laws applied – which meant that Jacqui had to face an interview with Child Protection Services.
What to do for a parent with a child in hospital. Post continues below.
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“It was horrible. I was so worried about my baby, and here I was being asked about how I was coping.”
Jacqui explained that her husband, Mason’s dad, was a fly-in-fly-out worker, but that she had lots of help from her mother – who had also accompanied her to the interview.
“Mum was getting really upset that my parenting was being questioned like this, but I just wanted to answer the questions and get through it,” Jacqui says.
Child Protection Services then told the young mum that they needed to take some blood from Mason to run some tests.
“It was scary, they didn’t tell me what they were looking for,” Jacqui says, adding that they simply requested she return the next week for the results.
When they did return, CPS took them directly to the Haematology and Oncology ward, and that’s when Jacqui was finally told her little baby had severe haemophilia.
According to the Haemophilia Foundation Australia, bleeding disorders such as haemophilia and von Willebrand disease, “affect the body’s ability to produce clotting factors or proteins in the blood that control bleeding, which means that minor injuries can be life-threatening without treatment.”
Jacqui explains there’s no family history, but nevertheless, Mason’s kind of haemophilia is severe.
“He makes no clotting factor at all,” she says.