Teenager who claimed she developed sleep disorder after swine flu jab settles case for €1.2m

A 16-year old girl who sued claiming she developed a rare sleep disorder after receiving a swine flu jab has settled a High Court action for €1.2m.

The teenager who cannot be named by order of the court was four years of age when she received the Pandemrix vaccine in November 2009 at a health centre.

Her counsel Jonathan Kilfeather SC told the court the girl developed symptoms within months and started to fall asleep during the day.

A diagnosis of narcolepsy along with cataplexy which involves loss of muscle control was made in early 2013.

Counsel told the court the young girl suffered two falls as a result of her debilitating condition and on one occasion had broken her arm.

He said if the girl laughs, she suffers loss of muscle control.

The latest settlement follows 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 80 cases over the Pandemrix vaccine.

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

Mr Kilfeather told the court in the girl’s case the €1.2m settlement represented 50pc of the full value of the case.

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.

Pandemrix Swine Flu

The girl had 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.

Mr Kilfeather said females get a higher level of damages than males in these types of cases as women who have to be on medication to control the narcolepsy and cataplexy for the rest of their lives must come off it, if they wish to become pregnant.

Counsel said that can exacerbate the symptoms, therefore the awards to females are slightly higher than for males and include future childcare costs.

In the teenager’s action, it was claimed that in the months following receipt of the Pandemrix vaccine she began to fall asleep unexpectedly in the middle of the day and to experience disturbed sleep and nightmares. Her mother reported the matter to her GP in April 2012 and following a further visit to the doctor in October 2012, she was referred for further tests.

It was noted the girl frequently fell asleep during the day, sometimes in inappropriate situations which it was claimed was in contrast to her pre-vaccinated state when she had been a very active child.

It was claimed she requires supervision for many activities that would not usually require supervision at her age, such as having a bath or staying over at a friend’s house for the night. It was further claimed she is afraid to swim in case she loses power in her arms and legs, which she believes would result in drowning.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement, which he said was a very good one.

If you have suffered as a result of a Swine Flu vaccine contact us now and our experts will assess your case on merit and quantum without obligation.

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