A COUPLE, both of whom claimed to have developed a mental adjustment disorder after their 12-year-old daughter's arm was pricked by a pin in a hotel bed, have been awarded €18,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Robert and Gillian Kane, of Robb's Road, Dundonald, Co Antrim, told a judge about the nightmare of not knowing for weeks if their daughter Amy's skin had been punctured by a possibly infected hypodermic needle while in bed in the Travelodge Hotel, Castleknock, Co Dublin, in June 2009.
Judge Matthew Deery, in awarding them €9,000 each against Smorgs Limited, which trades as the Travelodge Group, said the needle turned out to be nothing more than a pin from a brooch or some other piece of jewellery, but the Kane's were not to know that at the time.
He said they had been attending a function in Dublin connected with their Methodist church and had returned to the Travelodge hotel to find the foyer filled with young people, who had been at a festival, drinking alcohol.
They had retired with friends to their rooms when the pin incident occurred. Judge Deery said he accepted the couple had suffered a mental adjustment disorder as a result of what they had gone through afterwards, having to take Amy to hospital and a genito urinary medical clinic for Aids-associated infections and syphilis tests.
He said Mr Kane had difficulty in getting the Travelodge hotel and its insurers to send on the needle to a consultant at the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, where it had been clarified it was not a hollow hypodermic needle.
The judge said the Kanes, who had a strong affinity to their church, had suffered the embarrassment of meeting members of their congregation at the GUM clinic and had to explain to them why they were there in case word might go out and reputations be damaged.
They, and Amy, had been exposed to large warning notices on the wall about the dangers of venereal disease and drugs.
They also had to fill out a questionnaire as to who their daughter's partners might have been.