Wednesday 13 December 2017

Singer awarded further €755,000 after failure to diagnose brain abcess

Elaine Lennon, from Kilbarrack, Dublin, leaving court after a previous hearing. Photo: Courtpix
Elaine Lennon, from Kilbarrack, Dublin, leaving court after a previous hearing. Photo: Courtpix

Tim Healy

AN award-winning part-time opera singer left severely disabled after a failure to properly diagnose the cause of her headaches has been awarded another €755,000 towards her future care needs.

Elaine Lennon (40), who can only speak in a whisper and is confined to a wheelchair, had previously settled her action for damages with an interim payout of €2.39m and a later further payment of €310,000 towards her care needs.

Ms Lennon, who lives in Kilbarrack, Dublin, will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

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

She was 39 weeks pregnant at the time of her injury in 2007, and later gave birth to a baby girl, Claudia.


Through her father John Lennon, Elaine, formerly of 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.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Mary Irvine assessed Ms Lennon's care needs to be in the region of €755,000 for the next three years.

Ms Justice Irvine said she was satisfied the overall sum allocated should permit Ms Lennon with some small amount of planning to enjoy a very good quality of life having regard to her disabilities.

In the action, it was alleged Ms Lennon arrived at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, on February 4, 2007 complaining of headaches.

As she was pregnant, she was assessed by a midwife and later underwent a Caesarean-section.

Doctors at the hospital twice queried whether she should have a CT scan of her brain – but no scan was carried out and she was discharged on February 11 along with her baby. She continued to suffer from headaches and was vomiting and attended Dr Mathuna's clinic on February 14 when she was given an injection which worked for 24 hours.

Dr Mathuna called to her on February 17, told her he believed she could be suffering with post-natal depression and exhaustion and prescribed a sedative, it was claimed.

Later that day, she collapsed at home and was taken to hospital. A CT scan carried out the next day revealed an abscess in her brain had burst.

Irish Independent

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