herald

Monday 26 June 2017

Girl (10) died years after 'shaken baby type injuries'

The Dublin Coroner's Court
The Dublin Coroner's Court

A girl who died 10 years after suffering injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome fought "an amazing fight", her mother has said.

Rhiannon Fegan (10) died of bronchial pneumonia due to immobility caused by severe neurological impairment, an inquest heard.

At three-months-old, she was admitted to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin with brain injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

An inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court heard that, following that incident in November 2004, she was cared for at the Children's Sunshine Home in Dublin 18 for the remainder of her life.

Speaking after the inquest, Rhiannon's mother Nadia Fegan, from Co Kildare, said she missed her daughter more than anything in the world.

"She was an amazing little girl. She had her own little personality in spite of everything," she said.

"She taught me a lot. Through all her disabilities and challenges she had this amazing fight, she had this will to live.

"After she died, I told myself I would live for both of us now. I love her and miss her more than anything in the world."

The injuries Rhiannon sustained at three-months-old left her mentally and physically disabled, wheelchair-bound and unable to feed herself, the court heard.

Gardai in Newbridge investigated the incident in 2004 and a file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), but no prosecution was directed. Gardai re-investigated after her death but the DPP again directed no prosecution.

Seizures

Rhiannon suffered seizures throughout her life and was vulnerable to chest infections due to her immobility following the brain injury she suffered as a baby, the court was told.

In June 2015, she was hospitalised with a lower respiratory tract infection.

Four days before her death, she was transferred to the Laura- Lynn Children's Hospice for palliative care. Her mother was by her side when she died at 2.05am on July 18, 2015.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a narrative verdict outlining the facts heard at the inquest.

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