Paediatrician testifies in trial of man accused of murdering baby30/04/2012 - 18:34:42
A paediatrician has told the trial of a man accused of murdering his ex-fiancée’s baby, that the child had suffered severe brain damage.
Philip Doyle (aged 34) of Tinakilly, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering three-and-a-half-month-old Ross Murphy at 3 Creagh Demesne, Gorey, Co Wexford on April 5, 2005.
The court has heard the baby was initially taken to Wexford General Hospital on March 31, 2005 because he was ‘lifeless’ and getting sick on the bed.
The baby was kept in for observation because of a rash on his neck and released on Sunday April 3 but returned to the hospital that evening in cardiac arrest.
He was rushed to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin in the early hours of the next morning but died the next day.
Dr Colm Costigan, a consultant paediatrician at the children’s hospital, told Mr Paul Carroll BL prosecuting that Ross Murphy was admitted to the intensive care unit and had gone through extensive resuscitation.
He said the child’s pupils were fixed and dilated and that he had already suffered severe brain damage at that stage.
Dr Costigan told the court there was a bruise on the ear, which, he said was unusual in a baby of that age.
He also said there were bruises on the front and back of the chest and that he arranged for photographs to be taken of these.
Dr Costigan also told the court an examination of the baby’s eyes showed severe bilateral haemorrhages.
Consultant ophthalmic surgeon Dr Donal Brosnan told Mr Tom O’ Connell SC prosecuting he was asked to examine the baby on April 4, 2005 and found “very extensive” retinal haemorrhages in both eyes.
He also said he found a fold in the retina which he said was an unusual finding and said it would be caused by trauma.
Under cross-examination by Mr Giollaiosa O’ Lideadha SC defending he agreed the trauma could be caused by shaking or direct impact.
Dr Michael McDermott told Mr O’ Lideadha he carried out various microscopic tests and found extensive bronchial pneumonia which, in the absence of other findings, was sufficient to cause death on its own.
The trial has already Mr Doyle originally gave an account that the baby had been shaking his head from side to side.
Today Detective Sergeant Barry Butler told Mr Carroll that he spoke to Mr Doyle in Crumlin about what happened to the baby.
He said he told him Ross had been whipping his head from side to side when he discovered him and he put water on him to try and resuscitate him.
But in a statement to gardaí on April 27, 2005 the accused said that he tripped on the corner of a mat and fell on a timber floor with the child in his arms, the court has heard.
Consultant paediatric radiologist Dr Clare Brenner told the court she performed a CT scan and found brain swelling but that she found no fracture of the skull.
Consultant paediatrician Dr John Carson who saw Ross Murphy at Wexford General Hospital on April 2, 2005 said that considering the degree of damage done to the brain he thought it was “surprising” there was no skull fracture.
He told Mr O’ Connell small babies are much more likely to suffer a skull fracture, that they often fall from short distances and will have a skull fracture without damaging the brain.
Dr Carson agreed with Mr O’ Lideadha he had no qualification in pathology and had only given evidence in one other trial.
State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy previously told the court she concluded the baby died from brain trauma from which he would not have recovered.
Prof Cassidy said such trauma would not be expected to occur in a not yet mobile child without some explanation and there was deep bruising consistent with the trunk being firmly gripped and that haemorrhages inside the eyes “highly suggested a shaking incident.”
The trial continues before a jury of seven men and five women presided over by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.
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