Saturday 20 December 2014

Singer who got €2.4m payout seeks ruling on future care cost

Tim Healy

Published 17/04/2013 | 05:00

AN OPERA singer left severely disabled after a failure to properly diagnose the cause of her headaches is asking a court to determine the cost of her future care.

Two years ago Elaine Lennon (38) settled her action over the matter, on the basis she would get an interim payment of €2.39m.

Now the High Court has to assess future cost of care for Ms Lennon who can only speak in a whisper and is wheelchair bound.

She will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life after doctors failed to diagnose an infection in her brain.

The court heard previously she would have been fine if a CT scan of her brain had been carried out in time.

She was 39 weeks pregnant at the time of the incident in 2007, and she gave birth to a baby girl, Claudia. Her counsel, Denis McCoullough, told Ms Justice Mary Irvine that Ms Lennon now speaks slowly and it was a tragedy because she previously had been an accomplished part-time opera singer. He said she needs 24-hour care.

Suing through her father John Lennon, Ms Lennon, formerly of Newhaven Bay, Balbriggan, Dublin, brought the action against the HSE and Dr Patrick Mathuna, a GP at Castle Mill Medical Centre, Balbriggan. Liability was admitted by both defendants.

It was alleged she arrived at the accident and emergency in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, on February 4, 2007, complaining of headaches.

Infection

She was diagnosed as suffering from a urinary tract infection and dehydration, it was claimed. As she was pregnant, she was assessed by a midwife and later underwent a Caesarean section.

She continued to complain of severe headaches, neck stiffness and was not responding to antibiotics. Doctors at the hospital twice queried whether she should have a CT scan but no scan was carried out.

The hearing of the assessment on future care continues.

Irish Independent

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