Family Reach High Court Settlement As Son Requires Medication For Rest of His Life


A High Court action for €1.2 million has been settled for a boy who had developed a rare sleep disorder from a vaccine. The 16-year-old, who cannot be identified, developed the disorder in 2009, following a Pandemrix swine flu vaccine he had received when he was just four years old.

His counsel Jonathan Kilfeather SC told the court the boy developed narcolepsy, along with cataplexy, which involves loss of muscle control. Kelfeather added that the boy will require medication for the rest of his life. They believe with suffering of extreme fatigue, and anxiety at elevated levels, it is not likely he will ever be able to have a full-time job.

The latest settlement follows a case from November of last year when another 16-year-old boy settled his action against Pandemrix. Under that settlement, it was agreed that 50% of the settlement figure would be paid out. The case broke new ground for the families seeking justice as it paved the way for the resolution of 80 cases over the Pandemrix vaccine.

Mr Kilfeather told the court yesterday that the €1.2 million settlement in the latest case represents 50% of the full value of the case. There are extensive benefits in the settlement, the court previously heard, which include a vast amount of extra support for the child. Supports for childcare costs, education, accommodation costs in relation to third-level education, and a Gold medical card, are some of these benefits.

No stone remained unturned as the HSE, Minister for Health, and Glaxosmithkline Biologicals SA (GSK), have been sued by the boy, through his mother. GSK, the producing company of Pandemrix, had been given previous indemnity by the State concerning any adverse reactions to the vaccine.

Noting it was at the higher end of the scale, Mr Justice Paul Coffey approved of the settlement to the satisfaction of the boy’s parents. The court heard the boy’s father describe narcolepsy as very misunderstood, leaving it impossible to have a normal life with it.