Parents fear losing home as court fight for son fails
Published 26/11/2012 | 05:00
THE family of a severely brain-damaged child are living "day to day" in fear of losing their specially adapted home over a costly court case.
Linda and Anthony Duffy, from Cabinteely, Dublin, have spoken of how they are coping since losing a court case they had taken to help secure the future of their severely disabled eldest son Mark (10).
The couple had taken the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) to court over alleged negligence in the treatment of their first-born son following his birth.
However, the judge ruled against them in October and awarded the hospital half its legal costs in the long-running case. It is expected the bill may amount to €500,000.
Mr Duffy (47) and his wife Linda (38), a school teacher, said their only asset is their semi-detached two-storey house which they have spent tens of thousands of euro adapting to ensure they can care for Mark at home.
Mr Duffy said they had yet to hear if NMH's legal bill would be lodged against the value of their home.
"We've put it (the judgment) in a drawer and put it away for the time being. We have heard nothing," he said.
"We've learnt to deal with an awful lot of our situations with Mark over time and this is the way we deal with things. We tend to put it in a drawer and just get on with life."
He said that they were living day by day as they wait to find out if they will be pursued for their only asset – their specially adapted home.
Mark is wheelchair-bound, profoundly disabled and requires 24-hour care after suffering severe brain injuries and the loss of an eye after contracting meningitis after his premature birth.
The family also believes it may cost the State far more money if they lose their home and Mark has to go into the care of the State.
The judge dismissed the claims of negligence against the hospital and rejected arguments by experts for the parents that the hospital should have suspected Mark had meningitis and carried out a test for it.