British mum reunited with newborn after Spanish hospital took baby

Malaga hospital ran a DNA test to prove Stacie Cottle was the baby's real mother


A British mum who claims she was separated from her baby at a Spanish hospital for 3 weeks after doctors doubted she was the real mother, has been reunited with her daughter. Stacie Cottle, 27, from London went into early labour at 36 weeks – giving birth in her mother’s new flat in a village 30 miles from Malaga.


The birth went without complications, but when she took her baby to hospital 2 days later, Stacie claims her daughter was taken away from her while doctors ran a DNA test to prove her maternal relationship. During the 3 weeks it took for test results to come back – proving Stacie was the mother – she says she was only allowed to spend limited and supervised time with her daughter to feed her, according to the Guardian.

Stacie is of British Caribbean origin, and said she feared her treatment was influenced by race. But a spokesman for Andalusia’s regional health authority said it was Stacie’s behaviour when she brought the baby to hospital and then left again that sparked concerns. “This newborn was taken from the hospital by the mother,” he said. “As soon as that happened, we couldn’t be sure that the baby was being cared for. I don’t know how it works in England, if it’s very common to have babies at home and come to the hospital so that they can be registered. But we have to confirm that she is the mother. 

“And on top of it, her reaction was to leave the hospital. It wasn’t a very normal reaction. She should have stayed at the hospital with her baby.”

The spokesman said Stacie left the hospital after being told by a doctor that she’d need to be kept in the neonatal ward so in line with protocol, so they called the police. “The priority of health authorities is the protection and the health of the child,” he said. “This was a child that still had the umbilical cord attached.”

The “health risk” of a newborn baby and “the reaction of the woman” led to the national police being called in, who returned Stacie and her baby to hospital.

When she arrived back at hospital, Stacie says she was given an examination that showed she had recently given birth but even then, doctors were still sceptical. She was given limited and supervised access to her baby for feeding while her older daughter Annabella had to be looked after by her mother.

Stacie was finally able to leave the hospital with her baby after the DNA results proved she’s the baby’s birth mother. But these arrived on 7 July – 3 weeks after she gave birth on 16 June.

Stacie says she has received no apology from the hospital for her treatment.

“Repeatedly, during my stay in the hospital, I was called a criminal by staff and patients, from the day we were admitted to practically the day we left,” she said. The mum-of-2 is now planning to return to London with her two daughters as soon as possible and is considering legal action against Comarcal de la Axarquía hospital near Malaga. 

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