THE MOTHER of a young Limerick woman struck down with a rare disease says she hopes no one ever goes through what her daughter has endured.
Annette Ingle was speaking outside the Mid-Western Regional Hospital on Friday last, as her 22 year-old daughter Patricia was discharged from hospital.
Patricia was left paralysed and wheelchair-bound after contracting a rare disease three years ago.
Last weekend, she was discharged from hospital after spending 1,069 days in the high dependency unit.
“I’m sorry that Patricia has been in hospital for three years and no one knew what to do. I hope it won’t happen to anyone again; that a young person who comes into hospital with a pain in her head will end up like this,” said her mother.
Tears of joy and sorrow greeted Patricia as she left the hospital a month before her 23rd birthday. On Friday, after nearly three years in hospital her family were finally taking her home to Murroe.
Wearing a blue tracksuit and t-shirt with the words “I am somebody” emblazoned on it, her sisters Melissa and Keira helped her rise on her feet outside the hospital entrance, as she was cheered and applauded by well-wishers. “I will have my whole family together now,” said her proud mum Annette.
“We are holding in the tears here. It has never been the same without Patricia. She can be herself at home, go out when she wants and be with friends and family,” she said.
Last month, she was awarded one of the highest ever personal injury settlements at the High Court - in excess of €7.5m to be paid over her lifetime.
She contracted, chlamydia psittacosis, an airborne infection which can be transferred from birds to humans, allegedly while working in PetMania pet shop on the Ennis Road.
Patricia will leave her home for rehabilitation in two weeks time, and could spend up to a year at the Oxford Centre for Enablement in the UK.
Her family explained that she is not a suitable candidate for the Dun Laoghaire rehabilitaion centre as she is on a ventilator to help her breathing.
“Patricia won’t be the only adult [to have this condition]. I am very disappointed there isn’t a place for people here in Ireland,” said her mum.
“It amazes me that it’s so easy to get her over to England, but there isn’t a place in her own country - that as an Irish citizen she can’t have the treatment in her own country,” she said.
Dad Pat and sisters Melissa and Keira said they have looked forward to this day for the past two years and 11 months. “We’re absolutely delighted and are so looking forward to getting her home for good. Her hospital days are finally over. It’s overwhelming. We’re so proud of Tricia. There’s a long road ahead but she’s up for the challenge,” said Melissa.