‘Heroic levels of courage’ of parents in sleep disorder cases praised

Judge says he is ‘in wonder’ of those dealing with issue as he approves €1m settlement

The judge described as ‘very moving’ a statement from the girl’s mother outlining the daily struggle for her daughter and family.

The judge described as ‘very moving’ a statement from the girl’s mother outlining the daily struggle for her daughter and family.

 

A High Court judge has praised the “heroic levels of courage” of parents dealing with children alleged to have developed a rare sleep disorder from the swine flu vaccine.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey said he was “in wonder at the heroic levels of courage of parents” dealing with these situations.

He made the remarks when approving a €1 million settlement for a teenager who claims she developed narcolepsy and cataplexy after receiving the jab when aged four.

The judge described as “very moving” a statement from the girl’s mother outlining the daily struggle for her daughter and family.

The 15-year old cannot be named by order of the court.

Her mother told the judge the last twelve years have been very hard on the family.

“It is a life long condition. We are going to have to deal with this for the rest of her life. We just feel the world was her oyster, but she is not going to achieve the potential she should be able to achieve,’ she said.

“We have to keep it together; we still have a hard road ahead of us. She will never work a five day week, she will need flexible hours. It is a daily struggle she has to live with and will have to continue to live with.”

The girl, through her mother sued the Minister for Health, the HSE, and Glaxosmithkline Biologicals SA (GSK)— the producer of Pandemrix.

GSK was previously given an indemnity by the State concerning any adverse reactions to the vaccine.

The latest settlement follows on the case of a 16 year old boy who settled his action in November last year. That ground breaking settlement paved the way for the resolution of around 80 cases relating to the Pandemrix vaccine.

It was agreed under the terms of that settlement that 50 per cent of the settlement figure would be paid out.

The court previously heard there are extensive benefits in the settlement which include educational supports, accommodation costs in relation to third-level education, a “gold” medical card as well as childcare costs.

In the latest case, the girl’s counsel Jonathon Kilfeather SC said her parents noticed narcolepsy-like symptoms within a few months of her getting the vaccine aged four in late 2009 but it wasn’t until 2017 the condition was first medically recorded.

As a result of this issue, it had been agreed, instead of 50 per cent of a final award, the girl would be entitled to 42.5 per cent. The €1million offer represents 42.5 per cent of the full claim.

He said the girl suffers from fatigue and falls and also has high anxiety. however, she has a very high IQ and it was still hoped she will do very well in life, he said.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Coffey said he thought it was a prudent one.