THE young mother of eight-year-old Joseph McDermott, who remains in intensive care after being struck by a car on the Grosvenor Road, says she’s “trying to be positive for him” as he fights to regain consciousness.
Speaking from the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Joseph’s mum Joanne said her family have joined her in a constant bedside vigil by the bed of her only son, who was struck by a car last Tuesday. They’re hopeful a sophisticated head brace about to be fitted will aid her boy’s recovery.
“I can’t believe that what happened to Joseph was a week and a few days ago,” said Grovetree North woman Joanne. “He said he wanted to go to the shop to buy sweets. He left around 2.40pm and by 3.05pm he still wasn’t back. I went out to see if I could see him and someone in the street said a wee boy had been knocked down. I don’t know what it was, but something just told me it was Joseph.
“I remember screaming and screaming. Joseph had already been taken to hospital by the time I got to the scene and I remember asking the doctor, is he going to live? The doctors can’t wake him up at the minute. He has to remain very still as his injuries are very severe.”
Joanne told the Andersonstown News about the extent of her son’s injuries: “More or less every bone in his wee body has been broken.”
She added: “He fractured the back of his skull, he had some bleeding around his brain, a break in his neck, swollen shoulders and he had pins put in his arms. He has broken ribs, a break in his pelvis and a broken ankle. He still has to get more x-rays and I’m hoping nothing else is found.
“We are hoping he will have a special ‘halo’ neck brace fitted – hopefully on Friday – which has to be drilled into his skull and fitted to support his neck and shoulders. Joseph just looks the same now as when he came in last week. We are counting ourselves lucky that he doesn’t have serious internal injuries.”
Joanne said the family are taking every day as it comes. She said the St Joseph’s Primary School boy fluttered his eyelids and briefly grabbed her hand when she asked him if he wanted to know the football scores on Saturday afternoon.
“He is football mad and he squeezed my hand when I said it and I can still feel it now. I put on a Justin Bieber song he doesn’t like and he was able to move his foot a bit, probably trying to tell me to turn it off in his own wee way.”
Joanne said she wanted to thank the community for their support and prayers since Joseph was admitted to the Children’s Hospital.
“I have good days and bad days. The hospital staff, who are just fantastic, keep telling me to go home and have some rest, but I can’t. It feels wrong to be in the house without Joseph. I don’t care if I have to sleep in the car park, as long as he gets better.
“We have received cards from Celtic Football Club and a letter from the manager Neil Lennon. Joseph and his granddad were at the Cliftonville match last week and the players have sent their good wishes as well and said they want him as a mascot along with wee Oscar Knox when he is better.
“Being a mummy is the only thing I am good at and Joseph is everything to me. He is an only child and we have the strongest of bonds. A lot of prayers are what is needed. I’ve done my crying now, I’ve no tears left, so I have to be strong.”
Joseph’s grandfather, Simon Smith, said it’s important for witnesses to the accident to come forward to police.
“It’s a very busy stretch of road and there were people out on it,” said Simon. “Someone must have seen something. No-one has come forward yet and it’s really important someone does. The police are doing all they can and we will just keep strong and keep on praying for Joseph.”
A spokesperson for the PSNI said yesterday: “Police are appealing for information about a traffic collision in which an eight-year-old boy was critically injured on Tuesday, January 29.
“The collision, involving a light-coloured Honda 4x4 vehicle and a pedestrian, occurred at Grosvenor Road at about 3pm. Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact Grosvenor Road police station on 0845 600 8000.”