The father of a boy who was left brain-damaged when a mistake was made during surgery on his chest has told the High Court that doctors in Ireland never gave them any hope for their son.
Greville Miley was giving evidence in an action for damages on behalf of his son Jude who suffered irreparable brain damage when a suture was left untrimmed in his chest after surgery in 2012.
Giving evidence for a second day, Mr Miley from Upper Kilmacud Road, Dundrum, Dublin, said they felt let down by the health services here who had told them at first their son would be "barely there" and "just breathing" if he survived. He said they were told Jude would never walk or speak.
In later years he said the services here had "let them down" in terms of Jude's progress as they never held out any hope for him and always said he would get worse instead of better. It was only when the family sought treatment abroad that Jude made progress and professionals told them about his potential to progress, he said.
The court previously heard that Jude had surgery at the age of six months to relieve pressure in his chest. However a suture was left untrimmed and pierced his heart repeatedly, causing cardiac arrest and subsequent brain damage.
The family accused doctors of a "whitewash" and said they were not told at the time that a mistake has been made.
Lawyers for Our Lady's Hospital for sick Children in Crumlin have denied those claims.
The hospital has admitted liability and has apologised to the family. The case has come before the High Court for assessment of damages.
Mr Miley told the court he found clinics in the US and the UK to have "an enthusiastic ethos" towards his son's recovery whereas in Ireland they "only ever told he would get worse or if he survived he would be only breathing".
He said while doctors here had suggested PEG feeding for his son, when they went to the US they had dealt with feeding properly by using new therapies, leading to his son eventually being able to eat and to feed himself sometimes.
He outlined extensive efforts he and his wife undertook to improve their son's physical strength which eventually led to him taking his first steps unaided while on a visit to a therapy centre in the US.
He said while doctors here could give advice, they could never give practical examples because anyone here with his son's level of brain damage or less was "still lying in a bed, still in a wheelchair, not walking and not talking," he said.
A diary entry from 2013 read to the court, which had been written by Mr Miley, said his son "deserves every chance to reach his full potential, we will do everything to facilitate this".
He said the trips to the US were financed by friends who raised funds.
Yesterday Mr Miley described his anger and despair after the botched surgery and when he was told about his son's brain damage. He said he broke a bone in his hand when he slammed it on a desk in rage as he felt they had let their son down.
He said prior to the operation Jude was "cute as a fox" and was so alert that people would remark that he "had been here before". He said he was filled with sorrow and devastated when doctors told him the cardiac arrest was a complication of the original surgery and was a "popped stitch".
The case continues.