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'We're physically and mentally exhausted' - mum tells of 'juggle' to care for disabled son

Mum 'tired of fight for justice' over birth of David (9)

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Legal battle: Grace Kearney, mother of Mark Kearney (9), at the Four Courts yesterday for her High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts

Legal battle: Grace Kearney, mother of Mark Kearney (9), at the Four Courts yesterday for her High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts

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Legal battle: Grace Kearney, mother of Mark Kearney (9), at the Four Courts yesterday for her High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts

A mother has told the High Court of the physical and mental exhaustion of caring for her nine-year-old son who is brain damaged, spastic quadriplegic, cannot speak and is almost totally blind.

Mark Kearney Clifford is "most profoundly disabled", the court heard during the approval of a further substantial interim payout in the settlement of his action over the circumstances of his birth at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

No figure for the settlement was mentioned in open court.

In a letter to Mr Justice Kevin Cross, Mark's mother, Grace Kearney, said her son has taught her and her husband Darren "to take every day as it comes and be grateful for the love we are surrounded by, but it has also left us both mentally and physically exhausted".

"I am tired of the fighting for justice for Mark. Darren and I want to leave the court today and return home to be the best parents to Mark and his siblings that we can be," she added.

She spoke of the daily demands of looking after Mark, who also suffers daily epileptic seizures and needs 24-hour care.

"Mark's needs require that one of us is predominantly taking care of him, while the other parent is looking after the needs of our three other children. Simple things like sitting down and eating meals together and bedtime routines are unattainable.

"It is very isolating when you are so caught up in juggling to be the best carers we can be to Mark, while also trying to function as a normal family unit," added Ms Kearney.

Her only wish now, she said, was to be able to close this chapter and try to get on with "the life we have been dealt without the worry and stress the proceedings have brought".

Counsel for Mark, Dr John O'Mahony, told the court it was a profoundly tragic case but what was so fantastic was the care given by Mark's parents and grandparents.

Mark, of Arcnacloughy, Ballylickey, Bantry, Co Cork, had through his mother sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at Cork University Maternity Hospital on March 13, 2010.

It was claimed that there was a failure to perform a caesarean section in sufficient time or at all to prevent the baby from suffering from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy.

There was also an alleged failure to cause the CTG scan or other pre-natal monitoring results to be properly interpreted or otherwise reviewed by an experienced consultant in time or at all.

The claims were denied.

Irish Independent