A mother who was wrongly accused of child abuse by a charity after giving her seriously ill daughter prescribed medication has said she felt “treated like a criminal”.

New Addington mum-of-four Karina Driscoll, who is specially trained to care for nine-year-old Melody, was investigated by Croydon Council following unfounded allegations made by Shooting Star Chase.

Melody, who suffers from the rare neurological disorder Rett syndrome, is connected 24 hours a day to a pump that dispenses morphine and ketamine to relieve her pain and stem internal bleeding.

Her symptoms include inhibited brain development, intestinal failure, internal bleeding, internal and external swelling, and stomach problems that mean she must be fed through a tube.

In June Melody spent five days in a hospice run by Shooting Star Chase, which cares for children with life-limiting condition, so staff at the charity could learn about her needs ahead of a longer stay in August, when the family’s NHS nurse was due to go on holiday.

During Melody’s stay at the hospice in Guildford, nurses at the charity accused Mrs Driscoll of child abuse and claimed she had given her daughter a dose of medication that she did not need.

More than a month later, the charity made a safeguarding report to Croydon Council social services in relation to the incident, and also claimed Melody’s dad had violently shaken her awake.

The council dropped its investigation last month and said the couple had done nothing wrong.

But Mrs Driscoll, 34, of The Lindens, said she feared she could have lost her children over the allegation.

She said: “What hurt the most is that I have given up everything to care for Melody.

“It made me feel like a criminal. It was the worst feeling to know that people were thinking I could harm my little girl when all I have done is keep her alive.”

“If I can be accused of child abuse by taking my daughter out of pain then what else can I be accused of?

“They could have caused me to lose my family when we have done nothing wrong.”

Croydon Guardian:

Karina Driscoll with her daughter Melody

Mrs Driscoll said the ordeal had left her feeling “vulnerable” about caring for her own daughter.

She added: “She has protocols in place and a proper, detailed care plan that tells you step-to-step what to do because if you don’t give her a push of her ketamine and morphine when she is in pain she starts internally bleeding.

“I have cared for Melody for nine years, I know what is pain and what is behaviour “The nurse that accused me of this had never met Melody before, so she wouldn’t know what her pain or behaviour was.

“I felt like I was in a no-win situation. If I gave her a push [of medication] I would be accused of child abuse and if I don’t I will be accused of neglect for leaving her in pain.

“It left me feeling so vulnerable that I couldn’t care for my own daughter.”

A spokesman for Shooting Star Chase said: “Our qualified nurses and carers work to a professional code of conduct and have an obligation to raise any issues in order to resolve them in the best interest of the child.

“We have been in communication with the Driscoll family to explain our processes in line with regulatory obligations, and are happy to continue that communication should the family wish to do so.”

A spokesman for Croydon Council confirmed the case against both parents had been dropped and said the authority was working with the family to help provide care for Melody.