'Welcome home, sweetheart': 'Locked-in' mother returns to Cork home
A young mother with locked-in syndrome has returned to her home for a precious few nights after spending most of the last six years in hospital.
Catherine O'Leary developed the condition after two strokes and is only capable of communicating through blinking. She has no other movement.
Catherine has been cared for over the past six years by Cork University Hospital staff and her parents. She requires 24/7 monitoring and medical surveillance.
Her father Patrick, who has been fighting for her since she developed the condition said it's a very emotional day as she returned to her home in Carrigaline.
"We're very happy to have her home. All we want now is to go down this road and have her home full time. It's been a battle, but we're getting there now," he said.
"I can't believe that we're going to get up in the morning and we're just going to walk from our bedroom and go in and say 'good morning, Cat. How are you?' That means everything to us."
A fully equipped extension with a wet room was added to the family home to help ease Catherine's return home.
Last year, Ms O'Leary settled a High Court action for damages for €2.5 million. Justice Mary Irvine told the court the case was as “absolute tragedy”.