Girl given swine flu injection without mother's consent awarded €4,000
A SIX-year-old girl who was given a swine flu vaccination at school without her parents’ consent has been awarded €4,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Judge Matthew Deery heard that Niamh Fleming had been taken from her classroom in St Laurence O’Toole national school in Dublin city centre and inoculated against the H1N1 virus.
Barrister Frank Crean said Niamh’s mother, Caroline Fleming, of Canon Lillis Avenue, Seville Place, North Strand, Dublin, had signed a form indicating she did not consent to the administration of the vaccine to her daughter. He said Niamh was aged four at the time.
The school and the Health Service Executive were inoculating pupils on February 15th, 2010, when Niamh had been taken from her classroom and administered the vaccine by injection into her left arm. Mr Crean told the court the vaccination had taken place against the mother’s instructions.
He said the school had notified parents that the HSE proposed to inoculate pupils against the H1N1 virus as part of its nationwide vaccination programme.
Mr Crean said Niamh had been given a form for one of her parents to sign to indicate consent or refusal. Ms Fleming had signed the form indicating she did not consent to the administration of the vaccine to Niamh.
On February 15th both defendants had removed Niamh from her class, brought her to another room and administered the vaccine by way of intramuscular injection.
Claiming damages on her daughter’s behalf, Ms Fleming alleged that representatives of both defendants had “falsely imprisoned, assaulted and battered” Niamh, who had suffered personal injuries.
She had a somewhat painful arm following the injection but did not have any other complaints referable to the vaccination. She had not suffered from fever, behavioural or sleep disturbance, headaches, muscle pains, vomiting or sore throat.
The court heard that Niamh’s GP had advised her mother regarding potential side effects of the vaccine that ought to be guarded against. However, Niamh had not suffered any further adverse consequences.
Mr Crean said the defendants had offered a figure of €4,000 in settlement to the claim for assault, battery, false imprisonment and trespass to Niamh’s person, and he was recommending acceptance of it.
Judge Deery approved the settlement.