| 12.2°C Dublin

Man loses his measles jab damage case

A MAN who claimed he suffered from hyperactivity and mental retardation because of a measles vaccine he received as a baby has lost a High Court action for damages against the State and a doctor.

Alan O'Leary (24) brought proceedings against the HSE, the State, the attorney general and a GP, claiming there was a disregard for the vaccine manufacturer's recommendation that it should not be administered to those such as himself with a family history of epilepsy. He was given the vaccine in 1988.

Mr Justice John Quirke said yesterday he was satisfied no evidence whatever had been adduced which the court could possibly infer any negligence on the part of the State or any breach of its duty of care to Mr O'Leary of Ballyphehane, Cork.

The judge dismissed the proceedings after the defendants argued the evidence fell short of establishing a prima facie (on the face of it) case against them.

The defendants had denied the claims.


Mr Justice Quirke also dismissed Mr O'Leary's action against the GP who administered the vaccine to the plaintiff when he knew or ought to have known it was unsafe and dangerous to do so.

The judge said the only evidence suggesting negligence on the part of the GP was from a UK-based consultant neurologist.

Professor Leslie J Findley gave evidence the GP ought to have made a note recording an appropriate warning dealing with the remote risk of brain damage associated with the vaccine, the judge said.

Dealing with the case against the State, the judge ruled no representation, warranty or promise was made by the State to the plaintiff which could give rise to a legitimate expectation that the plaintiff would be compensated if he suffered an injury from participation in the measles vaccine programme.

It had been contended, the judge said, that the plaintiff's right to bodily integrity had been violated and the State was obliged to vindicate that right by providing him with compensation.

"I do not believe that contention can be correct."

The judge dismissed the claim against all defendants.