FOR THE first time in four years, a young Limerick woman with a rare disease she contracted in a pet shop will get to spend her first Christmas at home.
Earlier this year, Patricia Ingle, 23, agreed a settlement with the HSE worth more than €7.5m after she contracted an airborne disease from birds while working in the PetMania shop in Limerick in 2008.
Her long road to recovery has seen her spend some 1,069 days in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, including months in a coma, and most recently five months at the Oxford Centre for Enablement in the UK, where she is undergoing specialist rehabilitation treatment.
The disease has left her partially paralysed, brain damaged, confined to a wheelchair and ventilator, and she has to be fed through a tube.
But her family say the progress she has made over the past year has given them much cause for hope.
Mum Annette Ingle has described her brave daughter as a “medical mystery” as doctors are astounded at the progress she is making for someone who was not expected to survive this disease.
“The doctors have told us they can’t work miracles, but the things she’s been doing in Oxford amounts to miracles. She is so much stronger, she looks herself, and is so positive. She is always smiling and laughing,” said Annette, who moved to Oxford with her husband Pat and Patricia during the summer.
After spending more time in hospitals and treatment centres than she ever imagined, Patricia will now get to spend Christmas day with her parents, sisters Melissa and Kiera, niece Layla and extended family.
“This is the first time in about three and a half years when she doesn’t have to go anywhere except into her own bed,” her mum added.
*See the Limerick Leader weekend edition for a full version of this story