Friday 28 July 2017

Pet shop worker who contracted rare disease awarded further €3 million

Patricia Ingle. Photo: Courtpix
Patricia Ingle. Photo: Courtpix

Tim Healy

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

Six years ago, Patricia Ingle secured a structured settlement-believed to be about €7.5million- 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 €3million a number of years ago.

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

Ms Ingle, now aged 28, suffered catastrophic injuries, is paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.

Ms Ingle,  Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra, Weston, Co Limerick, had sued Petmania, Jetlands Retail Park, Ennis Road, Limerick; its parent company, O'Keeffes of Kilkenny Limited, Springhill, Kilkenny,  and the HSE.

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

She also alleged her condition was negligently mismanaged by the HSE.

Patricia Ingle has won a a record settlement . Photo: Courtpix
Patricia Ingle has won a a record settlement . Photo: Courtpix

Both defendants denied the claims. Following talks during the case six years ago, it was settled.

Read More: Second payout for pet shop worker with rare brain disease

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

It was alleged Ms Ingle contracted the disease during July/August 2008 when a Cockatiel parrot was purchased by the store for Eu20. 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, with headaches and increased vomiting, 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 along with difficulty in swallowing. 

Read More:  Patricia still defying odds on anniversary outing to visit beloved animals

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