Mum questioned over baby’s mystery bruises before blood test confirmed cause

Bailey’s mother says that she hopes her experience will encourage people to press doctors for tests

Ed Cullinane
Wednesday 22 March 2023 04:26 GMT
Bailey Kilbane, with mum, Beth, and Dad, Brandon
Bailey Kilbane, with mum, Beth, and Dad, Brandon (Beth Reilly / SWNS)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A mum was questioned by doctors about abusing her baby after he developed mystery bruises - before a blood test confirmed he had leukaemia.

Beth Reilly, 23, became concerned when her little boy Bailey Kilbane, now 16 months, started developing strange bruises and flu-like symptoms last October.

She says the child was “so happy and smiley” GPs and hospital doctors said there was nothing wrong with him six times.

Doctors at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral, Merseyside, even asked the mum-of-one is she was abusing her son, she claims.

But a blood test eventually confirmed Bailey was suffering from leukaemia - cancer of the white blood cells.

Beth says that she hopes her experience will encourage people to press doctors for tests.

Baby boy Bailey Kilbane sits at high chair in hospital
Baby boy Bailey Kilbane sits at high chair in hospital (Beth Reilly / SWNS)

Beth, from Wallasey, Merseyside, said: “People always just say that you know when your child is not right, and just at that moment that week I felt that.

“He was smiling, but I could just tell that there was something not right - you’d just look at him and he would look right through you back.

“If you’re worried, you need to press them to get tests done. I still often think back to the experience and it was horrible to be questioned about abusing your own child - but I know that they needed to do it.

“It made me feel bad and uncomfortable, but I knew that I had done nothing to harm him - so I’m happy I went through with it.

“What abusive mother would take her child to the hospital six times in a week anyway.

“Bailey is still very happy, but it’s just tough on him - and you can see that. We’re still a bit in denial that he’s actually ill and it’s already been months.

“He’s definitely been knocked a bit, he’s exhausted. He struggles to eat, so he’s now fed mostly through a feeding tube - it’s just not the normality we’re used to.”

Mystery bruises on baby boy Bailey KilbaneÕs legs
Mystery bruises on baby boy Bailey KilbaneÕs legs (Beth Reilly / SWNS)

Beth and her partner, Brandon, 23, an electrical engineer, took Bailey to the doctors after he developed bruises on his legs which didn’t heal for more than three weeks.

Doctors first blamed them on him falling over while learning to walk, but Beth’s persistence eventually concerned her GP - who referred her to the local hospital for tests.

Eventually on Bailey’s second check up at Arrowe Park Hospital, doctors agreed to ease her worries by performing a blood test.

Just hours later doctors returned with the “devastating” news Bailey had lymphoblastic leukaemia - a rare form of cancer that affects around 790 people a year in the UK.

Baby boy Bailey Kilbane in hospital after developing mystery bruises
Baby boy Bailey Kilbane in hospital after developing mystery bruises (Beth Reilly / SWNS)

She said: “We spent his first birthday in hospital - which was probably the worst part.

“He was due to start chemo, and sadly he just got sick at the time, and we had to stay in.

“I think what concerned me most at first was that he became very anaemic. He was very tired, cold, and falling over a lot.

“He ended up having about 18 bruises and I got worried. I took him to see the GP, and they told me at first that she thought it was viral.

“I went back a second time that week and she could tell I was concerned, so she sent me to Arrowe Park for tests.

“Because I had no explanation for the bruises, when I was eventually referred to the hospital, I was questioned about it over and over by two nurses and a consultant together.

“It upset me, but I understood that they just needed to do it. They at first said that they were not worried and sent me home, but I later came back three more times.

“Eventually I said that I was not leaving unless they did a blood test, and they agreed to keep him in overnight and did tests that morning.

“I think that’s just because he’s such a happy baby. He doesn’t seem sick because he’s just so smiley.

“Then a few hours later the doctor came back with her head down and a few other nurses behind her - that was when I found out about his B cell lymphoblastic leukaemia.”

Baby boy Bailey Kilbane lies in hospital bed
Baby boy Bailey Kilbane lies in hospital bed (Beth Reilly / SWNS)

Bailey has already had a bone marrow biopsy, three rounds of chemotherapy and is undergoing a spinal lumbar puncture every two weeks.

Beth added: “We’ve all found it tough because he was our first baby, and we were so excited about that.

“All of his young years that he should be spending having fun and being a child, he’s now going to be going through treatment instead.

“It’s sad because he had just joined nursery, and he loved it - but I’ve had to take him out now.

“There’s many effects that the treatment could have on him, he’ll be having heart scans for the rest of his life.”

A Wirral University Teaching Hospital spokesperson said: “While we are unable to comment on individual cases, to ensure patient confidentiality, we can confirm that the Trust has safeguarding procedures in place that follow national legislation for both adults and children.

“This ensures the safety of the patients in our care and may mean staff will ask further questions when determining the cause of an illness or injury.

“We recognise that this can be distressing for parents, and so we ensure the utmost respect is given to them where any questions are raised.

“We hope that parents and carers will understand that it is a necessary and important aspect of our safeguarding responsibilities.”

You can help support Bailey’s recovery here:

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in