Families in the UK have been told that they will be able to claim Pandemrix injury compensation for children who developed narcolepsy following the administration of the flu vaccine in 2009 and 2010.
Parents will be able to claim up to £120,000 Pandemrix injury compensation from the Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme which is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the UK, provided that they are able to show that their child has suffered a severe disability.
If their claim for Pandemrix injury compensation is rejected, the families will still have the option of court action, but a DWP spokesperson said “The Department for Work and Pensions has looked at some vaccine damage payments cases again in light of new information regarding swine flu and narcolepsy provided by the Department for Health”.
The news comes just days after Health Minister James Reilly was criticised for comments he made about Pandemrix injury compensation in Ireland during a radio interview. The minister claimed that – to his knowledge – the financial assistance that had been requested by families in Ireland whose children had developed narcolepsy as a side effect of the vaccine had been provided.
However, the support group SOUND (Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder) objected to his remarks – stating that the assistance that was being provided was only temporary and alleging that the government had reneged on a promise to approve a permanent solution last year.
SOUND committee member Eilish Plunkett – who has a son who developed narcolepsy due to Pandemrix in 2010 – said that her son (Sean) has a permanent illness which needs permanent support. She added that the personal services and financial Pandemrix injury compensation could be withdrawn at any time under the current arrangements.
She claims that James Reilly made a commitment to the support group to have the recommendations made in the official report “Investigation of an Increase in the Incidence of Narcolepsy in Children and Adolescents in 2009 and 2010” approved by the government before the 2012 summer recess. The report is still waiting to be heard.
Almost one million doses of Pandemrix were administered to children in Ireland due to the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009. SOUND provides support for families which contain children who are suffering from the side effects of the flu jab.
A fourteen year old boy, who was starved of oxygen during his birth and now suffers from cerebral palsy, has had a compensation settlement of 3.5 million Euros approved in the High Court.
Cian Mangan, from Faranree, County Cork, was born late into the evening of the 1st of June 1996. He was already several days overdue when his mother, Michelle, was admitted to St. Finbarr’s Hospital, County Cork, in the early stages of labour.
Mr Justice Brian McGovern at the High Court heard that Cian’s foetal heartbeat had fallen between the time Michelle was admitted to the hospital and when he was born, and it was alleged that staff at the hospital had failed to recognise this symptom of foetal distress.
Their alleged oversight led to a delay in summoning a doctor and consequently, when Cian was delivered at 11.39pm, he had become asphyxiated, and now suffers from cerebral palsy as a result.
Claiming medical negligence through his mother, the court heard that the Health Service Executive (HSE) denied liability for Cian’s injuries and argued that the proper procedures were followed. However, the HSE had made an offer of 3.5 million Euros cerebral palsy compensation which Cian and his family were prepared to accept.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Brian McGovern agreed that a payment of 140,000 Euros should be paid to Cian’s mother for the care she had provided for him over the past fourteen years, and heard that an application was going to be made to make Cian a ward of court.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, has approved one of Ireland’s first ever structured personal injury compensation payment Iarnród Éireann for a security guard severely injured by collapsing steel gate. The victim suffered frontal lobe damage that changed his personality, reduced his mental capacity, and made him less aware of his surroundings.
As well as €250,000 in general damages and special damages, Iarnród Éireann has agreed to make regular index-linked payments to the injured man, including €160,000 in annual care costs in a unit operated by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, and €1,200 montly until retirement age for loss of earnings.
The settlement agreement is an interim agreement pending expected legislation on structured compensation payments, with the case adjourned until October 2011. This new type of settlement is aimed at solving the problems associated with serious injury victims where life-expectancy and future care costs were unclear.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns described the settlement as “imaginative, forward-looking and eminently sensible”.
It should be noted that this type of structured personal injury compensation payment will be relatively rare – only applying in cases where future long term care costs for serious injuries are unknown. The vast majority of personal injury claims will continued to be settled in the conventional manner involving negotiations between a solicitor and an insurance company.
Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has launched a campaign, to coincide with National Bike Week, to encourage cyclist to wear helmets. Cyclist are particularly vulnerable to head injuries during road traffic accidents and bicycle accident claims tend to be higher than average due to the severity of the injuries. Acquired Brain Injury Ireland estimates that there are about 10,000 brain injuries each year in Ireland. Wearing a helmet reduces by up to 88% the risk of suffering a serious head trauma and possible lifelong disability during a bicycle accident.
National Bike Week in Ireland runs from June 13th until June 20th with hundreds of events nationwide.