Wednesday 18 October 2017

Emergency care order for injured baby whose mother was 'smelling of alcohol'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Nicola Donnelly

An emergency care order was granted for a baby after the mother was "smelling of alcohol and slurring her words" when she presented the infant at a hospital with head injuries and underweight.

A Louth court heard Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, believed there was an immediate and serious risk to the child after the mother gave hospital staff "conflicting" accounts as to how the baby received the injuries. A social worker said she believed the baby came to harm because the mother "is misusing alcohol".

The court heard the mother told a triage nurse the baby fell from a couch. However, she then told a paediatric registrar the baby fell three feet from a chair on to a carpeted floor.

A paediatric registrar gave evidence a CT scan of the baby's head showed signs of haematoma, a collection of blood under the skin, caused by trauma. The baby had swelling to the right side of the forehead and a two centimetre bruise below the eye.

He said the baby did not lose consciousness and didn't vomit but was kept in hospital for 24 hours for observation.

"The history and injuries are not consistent with the mother's story," the doctor said. While he didn't find other injuries on the baby, he was concerned with how the mother presented herself, smelling of alcohol and her speech was slurred.

The court heard the baby was underweight and the child was presented dirty and unhygienic. "I believe the baby came to harm because the mother is misusing alcohol - whether it was an accidental fall or something more sinister," the social worker said.

Tusla said it had reason to believe there was an "immediate and serious risk to the baby", and an emergency care order was in the best interest of the baby.

Irish Independent

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