Limerick pet shop worker awarded further €1million over rare disease

Patricia Ingle from Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston who received a further €1million in her High Court settlement.

A LIMERICK woman who was left severely disabled after allegedly contracting a rare disease from a pet shop parrot 14 years ago has secured a further payout of €1 million at the High Court.

Patricia Ingle from Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston was 19 when she suffered catastrophic injuries after allegedly contracting chlamydia psittacosis – an airborne infection which can be transferred from birds to humans – while working at the Limerick Petmania Store on the Ennis Road.

The latest interim payout which was approved by the High Court yesterday brings the total amount paid out to Ms Ingle as part of the settlement of her legal action to €16.5 million.

The case will come back before the court in July next year when Ms Ingle’s future care needs will be assessed.

Ms Ingle, who is now aged 34, suffered catastrophic injuries and is paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.

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In her claim against Petmania; its parent company and the HSE, she stated that she suffered her injuries after contracting chlamydia psittacosis in 2008. She also alleged her condition was negligently mismanaged by the HSE. The claims were denied by the defendants.

The case was settled after talks on the fourth day of the case.

During the proceedings, the court heard chlamydia psittacosis can be passed from parrots to humans through inhalation of airborne dried faeces dust or from the feathers or respiratory secretions of the birds.

It was alleged Ms Ingle contracted the disease during July/August 2008 when a Cockatiel parrot was purchased by the store for €20. It was stated that class of bird was implicated in the disease.

It was claimed Ms Ingle received no training in health and safety matters when working with animals while working at the Petmania store in 2007 and 2008.

On August 12, 2008, she suffered violent headaches and vomiting, attended a doctor and was sent to University Hospital Limerick where she was treated and sent home to rest.

There was a slight improvement but after a very bad night on August 31 with headaches and increased vomiting she went to her GP on September 1 and was sent to hospital.

The court was told that by September 3, she was technically voiceless and had suffered irreversible brain damage, blurred vision couldn’t move and had difficulty swallowing.