A claim for an acupuncture injury, made by a student at University College Dublin who had volunteered to assist in a Chinese medicine training course, has been settled after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.
In April 2010, forty-five year old Bernadette Poleon from Dunboyne, County Meath, volunteered to assist in a clinical acupuncture training course that was being run by the Irish Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Dublin.
During a training exercise, one of the students inserted needles below both of Bernadette´s eyes – the one below her right eye later being repositioned by an Institute supervisor – but later that day, Bernadette´s left eye became tender and puffy, and within two days significant bruising developed around the eye.
Although the tenderness and puffiness diminished after a couple of days, the bruising remained for seven weeks – resulting in Bernadette suffering from severe embarrassment whenever she tried to explain to colleagues how the black eye injury had occurred.
Having sought legal advice, Bernadette – who is a psychology student at UCD -made a compensation claim for an acupuncture injury against Bellfield Consultants Ltd – the owners of the Irish Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Bellfield Consultants denied their responsibility for Bernadette´s eye injury and, when court proceedings were issued, delivered a full defence against the claim for an acupuncture injury. However, before the claim was to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told that – by consent – the case was before her for the assessment of acupuncture injury compensation only.
After hearing how Bernadette´s injury occurred and the embarrassment she had felt while the black eye was still visible, the judge awarded Bernadette €6,000 in settlement of her claim for an acupuncture injury and allowed costs at District Court level.