HSE to pay €440,000 to disabled woman abused at Áras Attracta care facility
The HSE has agreed to pay €440,000 to a severely intellectually disabled elderly woman who suffered physical and mental abuse at the Áras Attracta care facility.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, described the woman's treatment at the hands of HSE personnel as "inhuman".
After the treatment of the woman came to light as a result of an RTÉ 'Prime Time' programme in late 2014, the HSE moved her. Justice Kelly said there had been a substantial improvement in her condition since she had started to be treated "humanely and appropriately".
This indicated, if she was treated properly beforehand, she would have had a "far better life and quality of life".
The woman, aged in her 70s, has been in health board or HSE care since her birth in an institution, has no known living family and is non-verbal with severe intellectual disabilities.
The RTÉ programme led to the HSE applying to have the woman made a ward of court and that was done last year. The general solicitor for wards of court, Patricia Hickey, then initiated proceedings against the HSE on behalf of the woman.
It was alleged the woman, a long-term resident of Áras Attracta, suffered physical and emotional abuse while in a unit there. It was claimed she was deprived of appropriate supports and stimuli and was physically deprived and abused.
The HSE admitted liability and the settlement came before Mr Justice Kelly for approval.
Micheál O Scanaill, for the HSE, said it wished to apologise "unreservedly" to the woman for the manner in which she was treated.
The settlement also includes a €440,000 payment comprising €300,000 for general damages and aggravated damages, €100,000 for loss of disability allowance and €40,000 for cost of an independent advocate to monitor her care into the future.