Medical Negligence

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Former Opera Singer Confined To A Wheelchair Awarded Further Damages


Elaine Lennon is confined to a wheelchair and will need 24-hour care for rest of life.

A former opera singer who is severely disabled following failures to properly diagnose the cause of her headaches has been awarded a further sum of €895k towards her care needs.

Elaine Lennon (38), who can only speak in a whisper, is confined to a wheelchair and will need lifelong 24-hour care, previously settled her High Court action on terms including several interim payments totalling in excess of €5m (2.4m, 310k, 895k and 1.4m) towards her future care needs. Suing through her father, John Lennon, Ms Lennon had sued the HSE and Dr Patrick Mathuna, a GP at Castle Mill Medical Centre, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, arising from her injuries suffered in 2007. Liability was admitted by both defendants.

Ms Lennon, formerly of Newhaven Bay, Balbriggan, and now living in Kilbarrack, was 39 weeks pregnant at the time of her injury and later gave birth to a girl, Claudia. The High Court was previously told she would have been fine had a CT scan of her brain been carried out in time.


Ms Justice Irvine in May 2014 assessed the cost of care over the 3 year period untill may 2017 at some €895k.

The judge said she believed Ms Lennon ought to have access to sufficient funds to enable her to purchase the care required to live as normal a life as was reasonably possible over the next three years. The overall sum allocated should permit Ms Lennon, with some small amount of planning, to enjoy a very good quality of life over the three years having regard to her disabilities, she added.

In May 2017 the case was again before the court where a further interim settlement of 1.4m euro was awarded to cover the cost of care for the 3 year period until June 2020. It is hoped that in 2020 the case will be finally dispossed of by the final settlement of damages on either the traditional lump sum basis or by way of annual periodic payment order.


In the action, it was alleged Ms Lennon arrived at the accident and emergency unit of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth, on February 4th, 2007, complaining of headaches.

She was diagnosed by a medical registrar as suffering from a urinary tract infection and dehydration, it was claimed. She was assessed by a midwife and later underwent a Caesarean section.

She was discharged on February 11th and continued to suffer from headaches and was vomiting. She attended Dr Mathuna’s clinic on February 14th. Dr Mathuna called to her on February 17th and told her he believed she could be suffering postnatal depression and exhaustion and prescribed a sedative, it was claimed.

Later that day, she collapsed. A CT scan revealed an abscess in her brain had burst.

Our partner Gillian O'Connor while working with her previous firm handled this case. If you have any further queries, please contact any of the following: