Second payout for pet shop worker with rare brain disease
A WOMAN left severely disabled after she allegedly contracted a rare brain disease from a parrot in a pet store has secured a further payout on a settlement made two years ago.
In 2011, Patricia Ingle (24) reached a settlement – believed to have been a record €7.5m at the time – from legal action which arose because she allegedly contracted the disease in 2008 while employed at a pet store in Limerick.
The High Court heard yesterday that a further undisclosed payout had been agreed to provide for future care in the next two years.
In 2011, Ms Ingle, of Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick, received a payout of about €3m as the first payment in the case.
In court yesterday, her counsel said the case will come before the court again in 2015 when it is hoped legislation to provide for periodic payments in catastrophic injury cases such as this will have been put in place.
If not, the court will be asked to assess a lump sum.
Ms Ingle, who is paralysed and wheelchair-bound, had sued Petmania Limited, 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 in 2008. She also alleged her condition was negligently mismanaged by the HSE.
Both defendants denied the claims against them but settled after talks on the fourth day of the case two years ago.
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 or August 2008 when a Cockatiel parrot was purchased by the store for €20.
It was claimed Ms Ingle received no training in health and safety matters when working with animals at the store.
On August 12, 2008, she suffered violent headaches and vomiting, attended a doctor and was sent to Midwestern Regional Hospital where she was treated and sent home to rest.
By September 3, she was technically voiceless and had suffered irreversible brain damage, blurred vision and could not move, along with difficulty in swallowing, it was claimed.