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Boy (12) seeking damages for injuries at birth

a 12-YEAR-old boy has brought a High Court action for damages over catastrophic injuries he suffered in the final stages of his mother's pregnancy.

James McCarthy, who can't walk, talk or sit up on his own, was delivered by emergency caesarean section at 33 weeks when a scan showed his identical twin had died in the womb.

The boy's counsel told the court yesterday the boy was the "victim of the most appalling injuries".


John O'Kelly SC said concern had been raised a week earlier by a registrar at St Joseph's Hospital, Clonmel, Tipperary, after James's mother had a routine scan that she should be admitted.

After the registrar consulted with her obstetrician, Dr Raymond Howard, the expectant mother was told to go home and come back in a week, counsel said.

When she returned a week later, a scan showed one of the twins had died and an emergency section was performed. When James was delivered he was in very poor condition.

His mother, Linda McCarthy, told the court yesterday she got no opportunity see her dead baby she named Daniel, or to see James before he was transferred to another hospital.

"Nobody explained. It is like everybody went silent," she said.

The next day she said the obstetrician, Dr Howard, told her " these things happen" and to concentrate on James.

Ms McCarthy who was under the care of Dr Howard since April 2001 said she had not met him prior to the day he came to visit her on November 21, 2001 after James was delivered.

She said when James was discharged from hospital in December 2001, she and her partner James Cooney thought there were bringing home a healthy baby apart from being born premature.

It was around James' first birthday that they learned he had cerebral palsy and over time discovered the severity of his disability.


Through his mother Linda, of Derrygrath, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, James has sued Dr Howard who has admitted liability. The case against St Joseph's Hospital was struck out.

The case is before the court for assessment of damages and the future care needs of James.

Counsel for James said as a result of his injuries, the boy has been left a spastic paraplegic.

He can't walk or sit up on his own.

The case before Mr Justice Bernard Barton continues.