A judge has approved a further €1.5m settlement for a former opera singer left severely disabled after a failure to properly diagnose the cause of her headaches.
This brings to €5.1m the total settlement in the case of Elaine Lennon.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly noted Elaine Lennon, now 42, was a talented opera singer who was pursuing a masters in psychology when she suffered the injuries. A CT scan after her symptoms persisted indicated an abscess on her brain had burst.
She is also one of many catastrophically injured plaintiffs adversely affected by the continuing delay over years to enact laws allowing for lifelong payments in such cases and this was her fourth time to have to come to court to have her future care needs assessed, he said.
This latest payment of €1.5m is intended to cover her care for the next five years by which time he hoped the legislation would have been enacted.
Noting Ms Lennon, who is a ward of court, and her court-appointed wards of court committee of her mother and partner, were all happy with the settlement, he granted the application by her counsel Denis McCullough.
She can no longer sing and, had she not suffered her injuries, may have pursued a professional career in music or psychology, he said. She had previously been offered work with Riverdance.
Suing through her now deceased father John Lennon, Ms Lennon had sued the HSE and Dr Patrick Mathuna, a GP at Castle Mill Medical Centre, Balbriggan, arising from her injuries. Liability was admitted by both defendants.
In the action, it was alleged Ms Lennon arrived at the accident and emergency unit of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth, on February 4, 2007 complaining of headaches and was diagnosed by a medical registrar as suffering from a urinary tract infection and dehydration.
She underwent a Caesarean section. She was discharged on February 11. She attended Dr Mathuna’s clinic on February 14. Dr Mathuna called to her on February 17, told her he believed she could be suffering post-natal depression and exhaustion and prescribed a sedative, it was claimed. Later that day, she collapsed at home and was taken to hospital where a CT scan carried out the next day revealed an abscess in her brain had burst.