herald

Monday 24 July 2017

Woman 'paralysed by parrot' secures a further €3m payout

Patricia Ingle was paralysed
Patricia Ingle was paralysed

A young woman who claimed she was left severely disabled as a result of contracting a rare disease - probably from a parrot in the pet store where she worked - has secured a further €3m High Court payout for the next three years.

Six years ago, Patricia Ingle secured a structured settlement, believed to be about €7.5m, which at the time was the highest ever in a High Court personal injuries action.

She later received further payouts for her future care, including €3m a number of years ago.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told a further payout of €3m was to be made to meet the young woman's care needs for the next three years.

Ms Ingle (28), of Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Co Limerick, suffered catastrophic injuries, is paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.

She sued Petmania, Jetlands Retail Park, Ennis Road, Limerick; its parent company, O'Keeffes of Kilkenny; and the HSE.

It was claimed she suffered her injuries after contracting chlamydia psittacosis, an airborne infection that can be transferred from birds to humans, while working at the Petmania store in 2008.

Mismanaged

She also alleged her condition was negligently mismanaged by the HSE. The defendants denied the claims.

Following talks during the case six years ago, it was settled.

During the proceedings, the court heard chlamydia psittacosis can be passed from parrots to humans through inhalation of dried airborne faeces dust, or from the feathers or respiratory secretions of the birds.

It was alleged Ms Ingle contracted the disease during July or August 2008, when a cockatiel parrot was purchased by the store for €20.

It was stated that class of bird was implicated in the disease.

It was claimed Ms Ingle received no training in health and safety matters when working with animals at the store in 2007 and 2008.

On August 12, 2008, she suffered violent headaches and vomiting.

She attended a doctor and was sent to the Midwestern Regional Hospital, where she was treated and sent home to rest.

There was a slight improvement but, after a very bad night on August 31, she went to her GP the next day and was sent to hospital.

By September 3, it was claimed, she was technically voiceless and had suffered irreversible brain damage, blurred vision and could not move.

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