Mother of student with spina bifida settles High Court action over her death

Young woman died a week after suffering respiratory arrest while being hoisted from her bed to a wheelchair, court heard
Mother of student with spina bifida settles High Court action over her death

The mother of a young woman with spina bifida who died a week after developing breathing difficulties while being hoisted from her bed to a wheelchair has settled a High Court action over her death.

Jessica Bingham, who was cared for in her Dublin home, was 21 years of age when she died.

The settlement the details, which are confidential, are without an admission of liability.

Senior counsel Bruce Antoniotti SC, instructed by Jamie Hart, solicitor, said the case was before the court for the division of the statutory mental distress payment only.

Jessica Bingham, 21, of Ballyogan Crescent, Leopardstown, Dublin 18, died on December 10, 2014.

Her mother, Lisa Algan, of the same address, had sued the HSE and home care provider Resot Limited, trading as Contact Care, with offices at The Grange, Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

Jessica had in 2012 spent a number of months in hospital after an episode of respiratory failure.

She was diagnosed as suffering from obesity hypoventilation syndrome and was later admitted to the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dún Laoghaire for assessment.

The young woman was then allowed to reside at home provided she had two home carers.

It is claimed two carers attended at Jessica’s home on December 3, 2014. A nurse had also attended to carry out routine wound care.

It was claimed that during the course of a transfer from her bed to a wheelchair using a hoist and sling and with one carer present, Jessica suffered respiratory arrest.

It was alleged that ineffective attempts to resuscitate Jessica were made while she was in the wheelchair and a neighbour had administered chest compressions after she was placed on the ground. 

Jessica was transferred to hospital by ambulance and she was declared dead on December 10, 2014.

There was, it was claimed, an alleged failure to provide any adequate nursing or home care regarding Jessica’s medical condition and her risk of respiratory failure.

It was also claimed there was an alleged failure to provide a safe system of home nursing care and home care, including the transfer from her bed to a wheelchair, bearing in mind the young woman’s medical condition and her need for oxygen therapy.

There was also, it was contended, an alleged failure to treat in time or at all Jessica’s respiratory failure.

All the claims were denied.

Jessica’s mother had told a 2016 inquest into her death her daughter had a busy life, attending college and visiting local schools as a disability advocate.

“Jessica grabbed life by both hands. She was attending college and she visited local schools to give talks on disability to transition year students,” Ms Algan said.

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