Interim care order for child admitted to intensive care with severe infection – 2020vol2#2

An interim care order (ICO) was granted in the Dublin District Court in respect of two children one of whom had to be admitted to a hospital’s intensive care unit with severe infection due to head lice and scabies.

The court heard that the Garda Child Protection Unit attended at the home on foot of a referral and found the home in a derelict state. A detective gave evidence that the house was in a total disarray, with clothing and garbage all over the floor. She stated that the children’s room contained about two feet of rubbish and clothing and that the mattresses were soiled with no bedding on them. She also stated that there were no hygienic washing facilities and that there were serious concerns in relation to the living conditions.

The solicitor for the mother: “When you attended at the home were you aware that there was a skip in the garden? She was in the process of clearing out the house so that is the reason for the disarray.”

The judge asked the detective if the mother was agreeable and cooperative. The detective told the court that the mother was cooperative.

A paediatric consultant gave evidence that he was on call when child A was brought into the clinic. He said that the child was conscious but she was distressed and her arms and legs were covered in scratches. She had scabies, and the most serious case of head lice he had ever seen. She had had the head lice for about three weeks and the scabies for approximately one week before she was seen.

She was in very poor condition due to the skin infections from the scabies and the head lice.  She became medically unstable and her condition deteriorated overnight. The hospital staff feared that she was entering septic shock as her blood pressure became very low and she required intravenous fluids to keep her blood pressure up. He told the court that she was improving; her skin was now clear she was participating in arts and play therapy. He said that she did not speak to anyone apart from her mother and sister.

The social worker gave evidence that she did not think the mother fully understood the circumstances. She said that assessments would be carried out, that the children would be placed together with a family as soon as possible and that the social work department would do everything they could to facilitate access.

The judge granted the ICO, but told the mother that everyone wants the best for her two children.