For more about the inquest, please read Leonie Fennell’s beautifully written blog post-
“….The last word must go to Jake. It clarifies exactly what his family have been fighting for. In an e-mail the night before his death, he said (verbatim).. “The ‘anti-anxiety’ stuff is actually an anti depressant which they didn’t tell me. Probably doesn’t make much of a difference, but I feel like I’m drugged to the point that it suppresses everything bad until it suddenly spills out.”…
Note :15 minutes after posting this- the Irish Independent did an article on the coroners verdict. Personally I don’t think the article, or the quotes from either of the psychiatrists, Dr Brian Houlihan (the consultant for the court), or Dr Maria Migone (the psychiatrist who prescribed Jake Prozac), go anywhere near far enough in explaining the effects of these drugs.
Dr Houlihan’s quote saying that-
“.. Prozac can lead to increased suicidal ideation in some patients, but not to increased instances of suicide.”
-is absurd. If Prozac leads to an increase in suicidal ideation in some patients, logic would follow that some patients will act upon them. To say in one breath that Prozac can cause suicidal thoughts (ideation) in some people but not actual suicide is so ridiculous it’s beyond words. Albeit perhaps the increase is small, but to say that the suicidal thoughts increase but that no suicides come from these suicidal thoughts in any patients ever- is really stretching logic if you ask me…
Dr Maria Migone’s lame attempt at insinuating autism is a more likely cause for Jake’s suicide also falls flat
“Consultant child psychiatrist Dr Maria Migone, who prescribed the Prozac for Jake’s anxiety, said new findings emerging in the past two years showed that children on the autistic spectrum were at increased risk of suicide.”
The only difference in Jake’s life was the Prozac, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see that Prozac is the factor which changed in Jake’s life… his parents, and Jake, were dealing very well with his Autism. Trust a psychiatrist to blame the patient, or the patient’s illness/diagnosis/condition. They’ve been getting away with this charade for far too long…
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned an open verdict concluding lengthy inquest proceedings dating back to May 2014.
Stephanie McGill Lynch shed tears and clutched her husband’s arm as the verdict was read out at Dublin Coroner’s Court.
“It’s a huge relief. It allows us to grieve now. You can’t let go of that night but this allows another chapter to close. This is the verdict he deserved because in our eyes it was drug induced,” she said after the inquest concluded.
Mrs McGill Lynch said she was unaware of the side effects of the drug.
Steph and John Lynch lost their son Jake to a Prozac induced suicide on March the 20th 2013. Today marks the culmination of a long battle for the Lynch’s to get a proper verdict from the coroners court in Dublin. I wasn’t at today’s hearing in Dublin’s coroner’s court, but I was at the last hearing, and I just want to say well done to Steph and John for persevering with dignity despite an arrogant and rude opposition from the challenging solicitors in this case. I hope that the Irish, and international press, report on this landmark ruling.
SSRI’s can cause suicide, and Prozac is no different to Seroxat/Paxil in that regard.
A recent re-interpretation of an older study (Study 329) showed that Seroxat is even more harmful than was first thought, and this re-interpretation has profound implications for all SSRI’s (Prozac included) and indeed medicine itself. (see here for details). Another recent study showed that SSRI’s are linked to increases of violence in young people (see here)
These drugs all work on similar neurotransmitters, they all cause akathisa and out of character behavior, and the side effects are the same across the board.
Why did Irish psychiatry, the HSE and the Department of Health not warn Steph and John about these side effects? Why are parents, friends, and family members, still left in the dark about the possible effects of these drugs? Why aren’t doctors warning properly?
In Ireland the anti-depressant market is worth 70million. Surely that money would be better spent on therapists, and facilities such as Pieta House?
It’s understandable why doctors want to prescribe drugs, they’re relatively cheap and easy, and they don’t take a lot of effort, or time, however that doesn’t justify the willful ignorance on behalf of GP’s. Irish psychiatry defends the drugs because the drugs validate their profession therefore any criticisms of the drugs, are taken by Irish psychiatry, as a criticism of the profession itself; these are psychiatric ‘guild’ interests which take precedence over patient safety. The pharmaceutical industry is also extremely powerful and influential in Ireland, and it seems that the concerns of these various vested interests are more important to the Irish state than a young boy’s life, or indeed that of anyone prescribed these drugs.
Jake’s ‘open verdict’ is a triumph for the memories of all SSRI induced suicides.
Irish parents on losing their son to suicide aged 14: ‘After turning the life support machine off I threw the bottle of Prozac against the wall’
Published 21/07/2015 | 13:39
Steffini McGill Lynch and John Lynch from Clondalkin who tragically lost their son Jake McGill Lynch to suicide when he was 14. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Sometimes Steffini Lynch drives to her son’s secondary school in Clondalkin to collect him… but he never comes out through the gates.
Fourteen-year-old Jake McGill-Lynch took his own life on March 20, 2013 and his parents are a long way from accepting that their beloved child is gone.
It’s the hardest challenge a parent can face; it’s harder still when there is even a semblance of a chance that the death was preventable.
Jake started taking the antidepressant Prozac seven weeks before he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Most will conclude that this was the tragic culmination of a long-standing illness, or a simple case of cause and effect. However, Jake was never diagnosed with depression.
More to the point, there is evidence to suggest that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide and suicidal ideation in children and adolescents.
A Confirmation photo taken of Jake McGill Lynch from Clondalkin who tragically committed suicide when he was 14. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Jake’s parents, Steffini and John, say that they weren’t told about the drug’s side-effects.
The Patient Information Leaflet for Prozac, which can be found on the HPRA (formerly the Irish Medicines Board) website, and which was in place at the time Jake took his own life, carries a warning that “Patients under 18 have an increased risk of side-effects such as suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts and hostility (predominantly aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) when they take this class of medicines.”
John and Steffini say they were never told this.
“They say it is not to be given to children under the age of 18 unless they have a diagnosis of moderate to severe depression,” says Steffini. “Jake had none of that. He had anxiety which is part and parcel of Asperger’s [Syndrome].”
Jake was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder, in 2012. He was intermittently seeing a psychologist at Clondalkin Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
Steffini, who is keen to convey that Jake didn’t have a critical need for talk therapy, says he met with the psychologist once a month. “However, before Christmas, he hadn’t seen her for four months.”
His anxiety increased ahead of his Junior Certificate and the psychologist referred Jake to a consultant psychiatrist in January 2013.
At the time, Steffini was still waiting for an occupational therapy appointment and had also asked the psychologist about CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).
On January 31, 2013, John took Jake to the appointment with the psychiatrist at which Jake was prescribed Prozac. John signed a consent form. The psychiatrist had not met Jake before this consultation.
“We didn’t research Prozac. We should have,” says Steffini.
“When I went into the pharmacist with the script, I said, ‘I’m a bit embarrassed, I have what looks like an adult prescription here but it’s actually for Jake’,” she continues.
“‘Don’t worry about it’, she said, ‘loads of kids are on it.’”
Steffini says a Patient Information Leaflet was not included with the drugs when she collected the prescription from the pharmacy.
Jake began to behave out of character six days later. He walked out of an exam halfway through, an act of defiance which was otherwise unheard of for the straight-A student who had an IQ of 146.
That night he cried for three hours and said: “You don’t know what it’s like in my head” when his parents tried to console him.
Steffini considered taking him to Tallaght A&E before reasoning that he was under intense pressure with his upcoming mock exams.
“He was inconsolable,” recalls Steffini. “We stupidly didn’t associate that with the drug. That should have been our lightbulb moment.”
John and Steffini say that had they been aware of the contraindications of SSRI antidepressants for under-18s, they would have known that this behaviour was a cause for alarm.
The Patient Information Leaflet for Prozac on the HPRA website has strict guidelines in relation to Prozac and adolescents.
Parents are advised to contact their doctor if symptoms including irritability and extreme agitation; untypical wild behaviour; restlessness and poor concentration develop, or worsen, when patients under-18 are taking Prozac.
Children with Asperger’s are structure dependent. They like order and they tend to take their meals and partake in activities at the same time each day.
“Jake would came home from school and he would sit there and not move until his homework was done,” explains Steffini.
On March 20, 2013, Jake didn’t sit down to do his homework. “When John came home from work, I said: ‘I think he might have had a row with the girlfriend in America as he’s been back and forth to the laptop’.”
“He was agitated,” adds John, “and his face was flushed.”
Jake had joined a gun club with his mother a few months previously. He didn’t enjoy other sports, which is not uncommon for people with Asperger’s, however he showed an immediate enthusiasm and aptitude for shooting.
“He won a medal and I’ve never seen such a big smile on his face,” recalls John. “That’s all a parent wants — for their child to be happy.”
That night, Jake asked his mother if he could take the gun out of its secure storage so that he could practise holding it.
“I hated telling him no because he never asked for anything,” explains Steffini. “I never hesitated… but I did f**k up big time by not taking the box [of bullets] away. And I have to live with that.
“People say, ‘well you didn’t know’. Of course I didn’t know. But we’re dealing with a fact and the fact of the matter is that I screwed up.”
They didn’t hear the fatal gunshot. It was the sound of silence — when they called Jake for his supper — that told them something was wrong.
John, a paramedic, bolted up the stairs to Jake’s bedroom where he performed CPR straight away. Jake was taken to Tallaght Hospital. He took his last breath at 3.30am.
“When we came back after turning the life support machine off I got the bottle of Prozac and threw it against the wall,” remembers Steffini.
“It was the only thing that had changed in Jake’s life — and I knew there and then.”
The inquest, which started on May 31 last year, is ongoing.
John and Steffini don’t just want a verdict. They want answers. They want to know why antidepressants sold in Ireland don’t carry a black-box warning as they do in the US.
They want to know why their son was prescribed an antidepressant when he was not diagnosed with depression.
“When the illness takes up one sentence on the Patient Information Leaflet and the side effects are three pages, there’s a problem,” says Steffini.
She cites a watershed case in the US where a judge concluded that a 15-year-boy was under the influence of Prozac when he fatally stabbed his friend.
Cases such as this one are known as ‘iatrogenic’ — caused by medical treatment. The term was brought forward in the Dail last week by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn of Sinn Féin.
“I met with the McGill Lynch family for the first time last year,” explains Mac Lochlainn. “One of the areas we looked at was the Coroner’s Act which is over 50 years old and in serious need of a comprehensive overhaul.
“We want to put forward a symbolic amendment known as ‘Jakes’s Amendment’. The idea is that the coroner could consider the issue of iatrogenic suicide.
There is a large amount of worldwide evidence that this medication has the potential to cause suicide and suicidal ideation in young people and we feel that this should be something that the coroner can rule on.”
John and Steffini insist that they are not out for “material gain”, nor are they anti-medication.
“We’re not trying to frighten people,” says Steffini. “We believe that medication should be the last resort, not the first one.
“If your child is stressed about exams or breaking up from a relationship… that’s not depression. That’s life.”
“It may sound old-fashioned, but sometimes we’re happy, sometimes we’re sad,” adds John.
They want to raise awareness around the risks of antidepressants.
They believe that their son would have made a difference in the world and now, more than two year they are determined to make that difference on his behalf.
What anti-depressant was this young man prescribed, what dose and for how long was he on the drugs?
Was he monitored for anti-depressant side effects such as suicidal thoughts, personality changes etc?
If not, why not?
and why no mention of the dangers of mixing anti-depressant’s with alcohol?
“The court heard that since January 2013, Mr Bray regularly attended the health centre in Trinity for mental health problems and had been prescribed an anti-depressant.
He told GP Dr Niamh Murphy that he had taken chemicals from the lab with the intention of harming himself but assured her that he had gotten rid of them. He subsequently reiterated this to consultant psychiatrist Dr Niamh Farrelly.”
A Trinity postgraduate student found collapsed in a corridor and then moved by a security guard, thinking he was drunk, had taken cyanide, an inquest heard.
Ashley Bray (23), a biochemistry postgrad from Surrey, England, and living at East Wall Road in Dublin 3, died on October 26th last year having been found unresponsive in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) on Pearse Street, Dublin 2.
Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Bray, a second year student researching the prevention of tooth decay, was drinking with colleagues in Dublin city centre before his death.
He was in “good form” but his mood changed as they finished up at 3am, colleague Jonathan Bailey said. Mr Bray told him that he “wanted to die” and that he was going back to the laboratory to take cyanide.
Mr Bailey put his arms around him to stop him running off. They were then trying to persuade him to get a taxi but he ran back toward the college. Asked whether he had considered the cyanide comment “talk”, Mr Bailey said he hadn’t given “too much weight” to it.
Mr Bray went to the TBSI, where post-grads have 24-hour access, at 3.08am. Security guard Samee Khan said Mr Bray’s hands were shaking when he showed his identification. CCTV footage shows him going into a fifth floor laboratory.
After 3.30am while checking the building, Mr Khan found Mr Bray lying in a corridor asleep. He tried rousing him but he “just moaned”. He moved him to a carpeted corridor where it was warmer. “I could smell alcohol from him. I just thought he needed a rest to sleep off the alcohol,” he said.
At around 5.45am, Mr Bray was in the same place and snoring. Mr Khan noted he was cold and his pulse was slow. He finished his patrol and then rang main campus security who put him through to ambulance control.
When he went back to him, Mr Bray was unresponsive. He performed CPR until paramedics arrived, telling the coroner there was a “bitter taste” when he was doing mouth-to-mouth.
Mr Bray was taken to St James’s Hospital where attempts to resuscitate him failed.
‘Lethal’ dose of cyanide
The court heard that since January 2013, Mr Bray regularly attended the health centre in Trinity for mental health problems and had been prescribed an anti-depressant. He told GP Dr Niamh Murphy that he had taken chemicals from the lab with the intention of harming himself but assured her that he had gotten rid of them. He subsequently reiterated this to consultant psychiatrist Dr Niamh Farrelly.
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said the main findings at postmortem were a “lethal” dose of cyanide and a “high level” of alcohol in his system.
“Cyanide is a highly toxic chemical asphyxiant which interferes with the body’s utilisation of oxygen. It can be rapidly fatal,” he said.
The court heard that potassium cyanide and other chemicals are kept in the lab in unlocked lockers. The bottle retrieved by gardaí appeared to be sealed. The TBSI’s Professor Martin Caffrey said the chemicals are required for research.
“Everybody is cautioned in regard to their use, their safe handling,” he said, “It is not up to me to lock things away and to require permission for people to access things. That would just make the research impossible.”
Speaking from the body of the court, the deceased’s father Clive Bray said he would not want any “knee-jerk change in laboratory practice which would make working in a laboratory more onerous” as a result of his son’s death.
Dr Farrell said the death was self-inflicted, but because there was a high level of alcohol in Mr Bray’s system, he could not say whether he was clear in his mind when he died.
The legal test for a verdict of suicide was not satisfied, he said, before returning an open verdict.
‘I love you’ – Anna’s last words
THE heartbroken husband of a pregnant woman, found dead at the bottom of a hill, has spoken of their last phonecall – when they both said they loved each other.
Anna Byrne (35) from Beechdale in Dunboyne, Co Meath, and her unborn twin sons were killed in the fall at Howth summit in the early hours of March 8 this year.
The mother of two’s last known contact was at 11am the previous day when she spoke on the phone with her husband, Terry Byrne, and told him that she was going to the supermarket, an inquest has heard.
“At the end of the call, I told her to phone anytime if there was anything,” he told the court. “We told each other that we loved each other and she said ‘I’ll see ya later'”.
Mr Byrne was giving evidence at Dublin City Coroner’s Court, where an open verdict was returned at the inquest into his wife’s death.
He first became aware she was missing at 1.30pm when she failed to pick up their son from Montessori school.
Mr Byrne checked the supermarket and maternity hospitals and rang her friends.
At 3.30pm, gardai in Dunboyne were notified. Just after midnight a friend found Mrs Byrne’s car at Howth summit. Gardai found a note in the car.
A search-and-rescue operation followed but was called off at 3.30am. At 7.49am, something was spotted at the base of the cliff and rescue workers where lowered down to recover the body.
It was established that Mrs Byrne had been dead for eight to 10 hours, and a post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as multiple injuries due to a fall from a height.
Mrs Byrne had been taking the anti-depressant Seroxat for 10 years but had stopped during her pregnancy.
Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, said that Mrs Byrne did not indicate a history of depression when she registered the pregnancy, but that this information was contained in notes relating to her previous pregnancies. Mental health team notes are not contained in obstetric team notes for confidentiality reasons, he said.
She was due to deliver by caesarean section on March 29, he said. In mid-February she was noted to be “anxious”.
Six days before her death, Mrs Byrne and her husband attended an appointment with consultant psychiatrist at the Rotunda, Dr John Sheehan. She told him that she felt “part of her life was missing” because she had no daughter.
“She said that she planned the current pregnancy hoping for a baby daughter but found out at 20 weeks she was having twins and that they were both boys. She said that she was devastated,” he said.
Her mood was low, particularly in the evening, and she described a loss of interest and not feeling “maternal”.
She told him she felt overwhelmed by the prospect of having four boys but did not express any intention to take her own life, he said.
Mrs Byrne’s GP had started her on Sertraline – an anti-depressant regularly used during pregnancy – and Dr Sheehan doubled her dosage, prescribed an anti-histamine to help her sleep and advised her to seek a referral to a counsellor in her area.
She was suffering a recurrence of depression associated with an adjustment disorder to her twin pregnancy of boys, he said. Mrs Byrne presented a low risk given that she did not indicate that she was suicidal and had made future plans, he told the court.
Speaking from the body of the court, her father John Deeney asked why she had not been admitted to hospital for observation on foot of her anxiety.
Dr Sheehan said this was only done in severe cases of mental illness and admission would be to a psychiatric hospital.
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said the note was a farewell letter and “particularly heart rending” but it was not dated. He also noted the difficult terrain that Mrs Byrne would have traversed to get to the area where she fell and her lack of suicidal ideation.
He said that although he was not saying that Mrs Byrne did not take her own life, the evidence heard in court did not satisfy the legal test for a verdict of suicide.
He returned an open verdict.
Dr Farrell will also write to the board of the Rotunda Hospital reflecting Mr Byrne’s concerns about sharing of mental health notes with the obstetrics team in cases such as his wife’s.
I stumbled across a very interesting article today in the Irish Times regarding the startling increase in suicides of children and adolescents in Ireland. The article is intriguingly and disturbingly titled ‘ Teen suicide almost doubled in one decade‘.
The article is thought provoking to me for two main reasons.
First of all, the increase of suicides in under-18’s could perhaps correlate also with the increase of psychiatric drug prescribing in Ireland? If this is the case, then it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the obvious link between them. Prescribe more drugs and you get more problems, yet Kevin Malone chooses not to explore this possibility. I wonder why?
Research finds two children a month are taking their lives, writes JOANNE HUNT
SUICIDE AMONG Irish children has almost doubled in a decade, a new survey has found.
The Suicide in Ireland survey, conducted by UCD professor of psychiatry Kevin Malone, included speaking to the families of 83 people aged under 35 who died by suicide, 14 of whom were children younger than 18.
The SSRI class of drugs have black box warnings for under-18’s in America. The SSRI Seroxat was banned in this age group, and GSK were found to have concealed negative data in regards to Seroxat’s propensity to induce suicidal thoughts in children. Seroxat may indeed be a highly dangerous SSRI, but the whole class of anti-depressants are just as dangerous.
There is also the current fashion in Psychiatry of prescribing anti-psychotics to children and teenagers. This has been happening for a few years now. How many drug cocktails are being dished out to Irish teenagers and children by psychiatrists and GP’s? And how many of these individuals end up being driven to suicide from psychiatric drug side effects? Side effects ranging from aggression, homicidal and suicidal thoughts, akathisia and drug induced psychosis.
The rate of suicide among children under 15 has also doubled, he found.
“You’re talking about almost two children a month taking their lives in Ireland,” said Prof Malone. He said of those children who had contact with mental health services, “their mental-health issues were being shoehorned into an adult service environment”.
With a minority of the children having “a definable mental illness”, he said the problem of child suicide was not just one for the Department of Health but for society as a whole.
Although it is recognized that psychiatric drugs are extremely harmful to children and adolescents, a GP or psychiatrist can prescribe them ‘off label’. This means it is at their ‘professional’ discretion to prescribe.
What I would like to find out is, how many under-18’s are being prescribed psychiatric drugs in Ireland?
Also, how many of these Under-18 suicide cases have involved the use of psychiatric drugs? And how many of them do not?
Are suicide cases with a psychiatric drug context usually ruled now, by Irish coroners, as ‘open verdicts’? and are suicide cases not involving the use of psychiatric drugs more likely to be ruled as ‘suicide’?
These are important questions that Kevin Malone does not even touch upon in this article…
Which brings me to my second point….
Professor Malone seems to have a big problem with Irish coroners, particularly when they rule an ‘open verdict’ instead of his preferred , death by ‘suicide’ conclusion. One would have to ask, why does Kevin Malone have a problem with this?
Prof Malone also said increasing numbers of open verdicts recorded by coroners was “compromising” our understanding of suicide. “The number of open verdicts reported through the 1990s was between 10 and 15 deaths a year. For the last three years it’s been between 150 and 180.”
While acknowledging the high burden of proof borne by coroners, Prof Malone said “previously we’ve identified that a number of open verdicts will have a suicide note and will still be declared an open verdict. Coroners err on the side of caution, and of course that suits society – suicide on a death cert is difficult for any family to deal with.”
The most high profile ‘open verdict’ suicide in Ireland recently involved Shane Clancy. Shane was prescribed the SSRI Cipramil and tragically took his own life and the life of another while under the influence of this potent and powerful drug. After Irish television coverage of Shane’s death, the Irish college of psychiatrists issued a statement reiterating their ideologically (and pharmaceutically) driven ‘belief’:
“namely that antidepressants cause homicide, which we wish to rebut.
There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that antidepressants cause homicide, as has been so definitively stated. This contention is not only inaccurate but it is also potentially dangerous and irresponsible.“
Irish Psychiatry seems to think that it is irresponsible to warn of the dangers of SSRI’s, particularly in regards to homicide. The (very real) possibility of SSRI induced homicide has been studied and flagged by Dr David Healy, Dr Peter Breggin, Dr Joseph Glenmullen and Dr Yolanda Lucire (amongst others). All of these people are very well respected in their field (they are also practicing psychiatrists) Yet, Irish psychiatry still denies the link? These denials by Irish psychiatry are bordering on the ridiculous, yet with the many lives at stake, rebuttals such as these- are very serious indeed. Kevin Malone is amongst this group of SSRI-problem deniers, and he seems to think that it’s dangerous to warn of the risks of SSRI’s. Surely informed consent is paramount when it comes to medications? Does Kevin Malone not believe in the notion of informed consent? What is irresponsible about warning of the risks involved with SSRI’s? David Healy has stated that these risks of homicide are small, but they still can happen. Yet Irish psychiatrists like Kevin Malone refuse to even consider the possibility. Is this scientific? Is this reasonable?
He was also amongst the list of psychiatrists who signed this statement.
Prof PATRICIA CASEY,
Mater Misericordiae University Hospital/UCD;
Prof TIMOTHY DINAN, UCC;
Prof MICHAEL GILL, TCD;
Prof BRIAN LAWLOR,
Saint James’s Hospital, Dublin;
Prof JAMES V LUCEY,
St Patrick’s Hospital Dublin;
Prof KEVIN MALONE,
St Vincent’s University Hospital/UCD;
Prof DAVID MEAGHER,
University of Limerick;
Prof COLM McDONALD,
National University of Ireland Galway.
The inquest of the Clancy case resulted in an ‘open verdict‘ and a rejection of a ‘suicide’ verdict. . Basically, an ‘open verdict’ is given when the facts of a suicide case are not cut and dry. In Clancy’s case, this was because he had a toxic to fatal level of Cipramil in his system, therefore it could not be established if he had actually intended to commit the act of suicide. The evidence of David Healy in regards to the dangers of SSRI’s , and Shane’s mother’s moving defense of her son, also had an impact on the jury’s opinion that this case was far from a cut and dry suicide…
These SSRI’s are extremely powerful drugs, even on the recommended dosage, so one can only imagine how altered Shane’s mind must have been in an SSRI-overdose state.
Quite simply, because of Ciprmail, and the high levels of this drug in his system, Shane was not in his ‘right mind’, therefore, an open verdict was delivered by the jury. Interestingly also, (and quite tellingly too) the coroner at Shane Clancy’s inquest also refused to let the college of Irish psychiatrists issue a statement.
Kevin Malone seems to take serious issue with the phenomenal increase in ‘open verdicts’ in Irish suicide cases. He states that : “increasing numbers of open verdicts recorded by coroners was “compromising” our understanding of suicide.”
Why does Kevin Malone perceive ‘open verdicts’ as such a threat to the understanding of suicide? Could it be perhaps because ‘open verdicts’ cast shadows of doubt? Or could it be perhaps because ‘open verdicts’ instill a sense of ambiguity to the notion of suicide?
Does an ‘open verdict’ really undermine our understanding of suicide? or does it pose more of a threat to the psychiatric paradigm, psychiatric power structure and psychiatric ideology?
It would be interesting to find out how many of these coroners ‘open verdicts’ involved the prescribing of psychiatric drugs, it would also be intriguing to find out how many ‘suicide’ verdicts do not…
As Mr Malone says: “Coroners err on the side of caution’, but surely this is a positive thing, why does Kevin Malone view it as a negative?
Suicide cases , particularly involving powerful medications, should always be approached with caution. In a drug induced state, how is it possible to know for sure the actual intent of someone who commits suicide? It simply is not possible, therefore, in my opinion coroners are doing the right thing by returning open verdicts. Irish coroners are not undermining the public understanding of suicide, they are approaching suicide cases in a progressive, cautious and objective manner. This is progression and evolution of understanding- something Irish psychiatry seems to find threatening? Suicide is not as simple as Irish psychiatry would like us to think it is, and suicide involving psychiatric medications as a contextual factor further increases the complexity of individual suicide cases.
In 2003, UK Coroner Geraint Williams, called for an inquiry into Seroxat after he returned an open verdict in the suicide case of Colin Whitfield. He also called for a withdrawal of Seroxat until the facts of its dangers could be fully established. This withdrawal of Seroxat did not happen, and it begs us to ask the question, why are coroners not being listened to?
He said “I have grave concerns that this is a dangerous drug that should be withdrawn until at least detailed national studies are undertaken,” “It is my intention to write to the Department of Health and to the secretary of state to ask him to hold an urgent inquiry into Seroxat and consider whether it should be withdrawn from sale in the UK”.
“I am profoundly disturbed by the effect this drug had on Colin Whitfield.”
Coroners know there are huge problems with these drugs, patients know there are huge problems with these drugs, yet…the majority of mainstream psychiatric mouth-pieces continually attempt to quell any dissent or perceived threat to their ideology. The continuation of a paradigm and dogma seems to be more important to psychiatry than patients dying because of drug side effects. This is profoundly disturbing.
Nobody can determine intent in a suicide case when that intent itself is skewed and warped from the ingestion of powerful mind-altering psychiatric medications…
“Open Verdicts” bring shadows of doubt, uncertainty, objectivity and ambiguity into psychiatric prescribing habits and psychiatric diagnoses.
“Open Verdicts” also cast a light upon the influence of those psychiatric prescribing habits on increasing suicide rates.
These are important issues.. and although I disagree with Kevin Malone’s agenda, I am certainly glad that he has unintentionally raised them…