Doctor's Exam Could Have Injured Disabled Girl, Court Hears

Evidence given at a manslaughter trial suggests that a severely disabled girl could have been injured by a medical examination shortly before her death.

Rebecca McKeown, 14, died in March 2001.

Her grandparents David and Sarah Johnston, both in their eighties, deny manslaughter.

The prosecution claim that Rebecca, who suffered from spastic cerebral palsy and scoliosis, died of pneumonia shortly after an alleged sexual assault.

But Dr Tharma Suresha, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist who treated Rebecca for bleeding four days before her death, said he had only recently become aware that Dr Mary Donnelly, a locum GP, had given Rebecca an internal examination at home in Newtownabbey a few hours before she was admitted to hospital.

Ms Donnelly initially believed the girl had started her first period, but she admitted last week in court that she had withheld the full details of the internal physical examination for 11 years.

Mr Suresha said he believed her "excruciating" injuries were caused by "significant" force and the medical examination "could have caused some tearing".

Ms Donnelly said she now "regrets" the physical examination, which she agreed was inappropriate for a child of Rebecca’s age and size.


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