Couple files complaint after newborn taken away

Royal Victoria Hospital and youth protection services say they have to act quickly if they suspect a child may be in danger; new parents say not enough was done to prove drug use.

Mother says acid reflux medication caused false positive for drugs

New parents Isabel Villeneuve and Daniel Tabo-oy say their baby was taken away after a drug test yielded a false positive for methamphetamines and opiates. (CBC)

A Montreal couple has lodged a complaint against the Royal Victoria Hospital and youth protection services after their newborn daughter was taken from them following a drug test.

When Isabel Villeneuve, 24, arrived at the hospital on Jan. 11 to deliver baby Kaia, she admitted she had smoked marijuana early in her pregnancy, but said she stopped when she learned the risks.

She said she hadn’t done any drugs throughout the rest of her pregnancy.

But a day after the baby was born, the hospital told Villeneuve she had tested positive for methamphetamines and opiates.

Kaia was taken from parents Villeneuve and Daniel Tabo-oy by a Batshaw social worker the next day after the mother's urine was retested and yielded a faint positive, even though the lab results she was given said negative. 

"We were both traumatized," Tabo-oy said.

"I was heartbroken and I fell to the floor. And they just looked at me like I was crazy and they looked at us like we were a bunch of drug addicts."

Villeneuve said the positive drug test was due to acid reflux medication she’d been prescribed by her doctor -- a drug sometimes known to cause false positives.

"But never once was it looked at like, ‘Maybe it's your medication,’" she said.

The young parents got their baby back six days later with conditions, including living with Tabo-oy’s parents and random drug tests.

"All we were thinking was, we need our daughter, we need to be with our daughter. We'll do whatever you want, because you will see, it's a mistake," Villeneuve said.

The tests came back negative and Batshaw dropped the case a month and a half later.

Neither the Royal Victoria nor Batshaw would comment on the case, but said they have to act if they suspect a child may be in danger.

Batshaw’s director of youth protection Madeleine Bérard said they act with a lot of care when dealing with situations like these because it can have a tremendous impact on the baby and family.

Villeneuve said she is paying out of pocket for a more comprehensive drug test to prove she stopped taking drugs when she said she did.

"I don't want this to happen to any other innocent people," she said.