Pet shop

Pet shop worker receives extra €1m for rare disease

A woman who was severely disabled after claiming she contracted a rare disease from a pet shop parrot 14 years ago has won an additional €1million payout from the High Court.

It brings the total awarded to Patricia Ingle of Co Limerick who suffered catastrophic brain damage after contracting chlamydia psittacosis – an airborne infection that can be passed from birds to humans – to €16.5million.

Six interim payments have been made so far and his case will return to court next year when his future care needs are further assessed.

In 2011, Ms Ingle was awarded a multimillion-euro structured settlement, believed to be around €7.5million, which at the time was the highest ever recorded in a High Court personal injury claim .

Ms Ingle from Ballinacurra, Weston, Co Limerick claimed to have contracted the disease while working at the Petmania Store, Ennis Road, Limerick.

She also claimed that after being admitted to hospital her condition was mishandled by the HSE.

Patricia Ingle at the High Court in 2011

Now 34, he is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair.

She sued Petmania Limited, Jetlands Retail Park, Ennis Road, Limerick; its parent company, O’Keeffes of Kilkenny Limited, Springhill, Kilkenny and the HSE.

Both defendants denied the claims and the case settled without admission of liability after a four-day hearing.

In 2011, the court heard that chlamydial psittacosis could be transmitted from parrots to humans by inhaling dust from airborne dried feces or birds’ feathers or respiratory secretions.

It was claimed Ms Ingle contracted the disease in 2008 when a Cockatiel parrot was bought by the store for €20.

She said she did not receive health and safety training when working with animals while working at the Petmania store.

On August 12, 2008, she suffered severe headaches and vomiting, and was treated at Midwestern Regional Hospital and sent home to rest.

She was sent to the hospital again on September 1 and two days later had lost her voice and could not move.

She had suffered severe irreversible brain damage.