Over-zealous medics barking up the wrong tree and being unable to shift their thinking can’t be ruled out, of course and I can imagine the sequence of events:With your last sentence, I can understand an individual not stating what may have occurred when they were in the presence of the perpetrator of any violence, but this happened once she was removed from any perceived threat ie in the ambulance and then at the hospital.
As I have stated, it just appears to me that they were going out of their way to find that violence had been committed, especially after being told that nothing had occurred.
Ambulance attends patient and medics note unexplained injuries – abuse is considered and noted, but questions to the patient about abuse are unlikely to take place in front of the possible abuser.
Ambulance arrives in ED and medics as part of their handover of the patient highlight suspicion, possibly with a verbal briefing which reinforces the consideration of abuse in the minds of ED staff, who at this point are wholly reliant on the handover from the ambulance crew.
ED staff evaluate patient, but at this point may have a greater suspicion of abuse than is warranted due to having it highlighted by ambulance staff, particularly if the unexplained injuries are consistent with a mechanism of injury that can be reasonably explained by physical abuse.
While in ED the staff probe (subtly or otherwise) whether the patient is actually the victim of abuse and while the answers may be negative, the suspicion remains because the injuries remain unexplained.
The patient gets handed over to an acute medical ward with the nursing staff possibly being told that there may be a safeguarding issue, once again reinforcing the idea of abuse, which will remain if the injuries continue to have no other explanation.
So, yes, I can fully understand how medical staff can make two plus two equal five and having it snowball, and in fact there are a couple of good pieces of research that looked specifically into clinicians labelling a patient with one thing and then being reluctant/unwilling to change or let go of their diagnosis, even when the evidence suggested that the diagnosis was wrong.
That said, I should reiterate that if a patient arrives with unexplained injuries that can be framed as possible abuse then medical staff have to consider it; ignoring the possibility is not an option.