'I am tired of fighting for justice for Mark'; Cork mum's battle for son born profoundly disabled at CUMH

'I am tired of fighting for justice for Mark'; Cork mum's battle for son born profoundly disabled at CUMH
Grace Kearney, mother of Mark Kearney pictured at the Four Courts for a High Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

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

The High Court heard Mark Kearney Clifford from Bantry, Co. Cork, is “most profoundly disabled” as the court approved a further substantial interim payout in the settlement of his action over the circumstances of his birth at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

In a letter to Mr Justice Kevin Cross, Mark’s mum, Grace Kearney said her son has taught herself 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.”

She added: “I am tired of 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 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.” 

Grace Kearney, mother of Mark Kearney pictured at the Four Courts for a High Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Grace Kearney, mother of Mark Kearney pictured at the Four Courts for a High Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

She said, while their lives changed forever after Mark’s birth, he has brought “so much joy and love to our family. He has taught us so much, but his condition has also brought so much pain and devastation."

She added: "I am grateful for the little boy we have in Mark as he has brought us more love then we knew possible, but every day I grieve for the baby I didn’t bring home. The little boy who should have called mamma and dadda. Every milestone is a reminder of what we lost."

She continued: “We are so proud of Mark and all his achievements and we make sure to cuddle and kiss him every day always reminding him of just how loved he is.” 

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

"I can assure you that as parents we are devoted to our beautiful, amazing son Mark and we will do everything in our power to ensure he is happy, loved and cared for, as he so deserves for the rest of his life. He is our life and he could not be more loved.”

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

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

It was claimed there was an alleged 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, it was claimed, 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.

Approving the interim payout for the next five years, Mr Justice Cross thanked Mark’s parents and the Kearney-Clifford families for their care of Mark and he wished them all the best for the future.




More in this section

Sponsored Content