AN INFANT’S right arm was maimed for life when her mother plunged it into hot water in a fit of temper because the 14-month-old was throwing toys around the kitchen as her mother tidied.
Judge Patrick J Moran said that the child, who will be three years old in August, has already had three skin grafts to her right hand; she will require more and require intense physiotherapy. Despite this treatment she will be maimed for life, according to the consultant plastic surgeon.
The mother, who was only 18 years old at the time of the incident, has since pleaded guilty to a count of intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to her daughter at their home in Co Cork on November 1, 2006.
Sergeant John O’Leary told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the child was in the family home playing in the kitchen. Her mother was trying to clean up. She (the mother) became upset at the child repeatedly un-tidying the room by throwing around toys.
“There was a bucket of hot water on the floor. She placed her daughter’s hand in the hot water for a time,” said the sergeant.
The mother then phoned for medical help and said that she had accidentally spilled water from a kettle on her daughter’s hand. She was advised to run cold water over the hand and to wait for an ambulance. The child was taken to Cork University Hospital.
The plastic surgeon did not believe the injury was caused by boiling water spilling from a kettle, as this would not have explained the severity of the injury in his experience.
Parties to the case cannot be identified for legal reasons. There was evidence that the child was taken into care for a time and is now being looked after by her father. The defendant has not seen her daughter for the past 15 months.
Defence senior counsel Tom Creed accepted the defendant had been reluctant to participate with psychological services that were made available to her.
Judge Moran told the defendant: “You must attend appointments, these people are there to help you with your difficulties. This is a most serious charge. The consultant plastic surgeon says her right upper limb is maimed for life.”
The judge put sentencing back until February, 2009.
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