Elaine Lennon suffered a postpartum cerebral abscess with ventriculitis and brainstem meningocephalitis in February 2007, approximately one week after giving birth to her first child.
Ms. Lennon had presented at the accident and emergency unit of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth, on 4th February, 2007, complaining of headaches.
She was diagnosed by a medical registrar as suffering from a urinary tract infection and dehydration. She was assessed by a midwife and later underwent a Caesarean section.
She was discharged on 11th February and continued to suffer from headaches and was vomiting. She attended her GP, Dr Mathuna’s clinic on 14th February. Dr Mathuna called to her on 17th February and told her he believed she could be suffering postnatal depression and exhaustion and prescribed a sedative.
Later that day, she collapsed. A CT scan revealed an abscess in her brain had burst. An earlier CT scan would have avoided the rupture and her subsequent catastrophic injuries.
As a result, Ms. Lennon became confined to a wheelchair and required 24 hour care upon her discharge from hospital. At that time, her previous accommodation was unsuitable to meet her needs and she began a lengthy residency in a nursing home. This was unsuitable for a young woman who wished to be reunited with her partner and daughter.
The matter has come before the Court on a number of occasions previously and it came before the Court, yet again, in June 2017. On this occasion an award had been negotiated between her legal team and lawyers for the defendants. The matter was ruled by Mr. Justice Kelly, President of the High Court, as Ms. Lennon is a Ward of Court due to her cognitive impairment. Ms. Lennon was awarded a further sum of €1,614,310 to cover a period of five years.
As a result of this award Ms. Lennon will continue to have 24 hour care, together with a second carer for large parts of the day. This significant care package was required due to improvements in Ms. Lennon’s mobility. Ms. Lennon, once wheelchair bound, can now walk with the assistance of two people. The intensive physiotherapy provided under previous awards assisted Ms. Lennon in making such a considerable and life enhancing improvement.
Under the current award Ms. Lennon will also have access to a dietician, ophthalmologist, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, together with continued physiotherapy and a range of aids and appliances designed to increase her independence and improve her quality of life.
Under previous awards Ms. Lennon had received a combined total in excess of €3.6 million. The current award brings her total award to date to €5.2 million. The matter will come before the Court again in 2022.
Gillian O’Connor, Partner
Ciara McPhillips, Associate Solicitor
04 July 2017