Woman who had locked-in syndrome speaks about recovery

Patricia Ingle remains partly paralysed but can walk with aid of walking frame and communicates using voice box

Patricia Ingle: “I am feeling good that I am home.” Photograph: Collins Courts

Patricia Ingle: “I am feeling good that I am home.” Photograph: Collins Courts

Sat, Aug 10, 2013, 01:00

A young woman who won a multimillion euro High Court settlement in 2011 after developing locked-in syndrome when she contracted a rare disease while working in a pet shop in Limerick in 2008 spoke yesterday of her road to recovery.

Under the settlement, 24-year-old Patricia Ingle received an interim payment of more than €3 million with further payments to follow under a structured agreement. Her care costs €15,000 a week and her parents Annette and Pat said yesterday being at home had made a dramatic difference to her quality of life.

She remains partially paralysed but can now walk with the aid of a walking frame and communicates using a voice box.

She contracted chlamydia psittacosis, an airborne infection that can be transferred from birds to humans, in the pet shop where she worked and was hospitalised for more than three years. She still requires 24-hour care.

“I am feeling good that I am home,” she told Miriam O’Callaghan in an interview on RTÉ Radio One. “In the hospital it was all about getting home. I did not become better, I worked on getting better.”