Tragic singer smiles as care payout agreed
An award-winning opera singer who was awarded damages of €2.39m after she was left severely disabled through medical negligence yesterday learnt how much she will be paid for her future care.
Elaine Lennon, right, can only speak in a whisper and is confined to a wheelchair after a hospital and a doctor failed to properly diagnose the cause of headaches which turned out to be a brain abscess.
Ms Lennon (36), from Balbriggan, Co Dublin, now lives in a nursing home away from her child and partner as she needs 24-hour care.
The HSE, as operator of the hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, and Balbriggan GP Patrick O Mathuna, admitted liability last week when the damages payment was agreed.
While the HSE initially contested the level of payments being sought for Ms Lennon's care yesterday -- it was later agreed €75,000 would be paid to cover the transition from the home to the care of her family.
A further €13,500 per month was agreed to cover the cost of carers for the next two years.
Approving the arrangement in the High Court, Mr Justice John Quirke, said he hoped Ms Lennon would perform again.
"I hope to hear you singing again," he said, adding he would have loved to have heard her voice before the injury.
"I used to sing all the time," Ms Lennon replied in a faint voice as she smiled broadly.
Last week the court heard that had a CT scan been carried out on time Ms Lennon would have been fine. She was 39 weeks pregnant at the time of her injury in 2007 and later gave birth to a healthy girl called Claudia.