Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) South Kerry | Medical Negligence

Written by
Rachael O’Shaughnessy on
07 February 2022

In Brief:

The Health Service Executive ("HSE") has conducted a review of in excess of 1,300 young patients who attended South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (“CAMHS”) between July 2016 and April 2021. The findings are contained in the Report on the look-back review into child & adolesent mental health services county MHS area A ("the Report") and raise siginificant allegations that children were prescribed inappropriate medication.

Significant harm caused to 46 children

We at HOMS Assist share the shock expressed by the Taoiseach that the Report confirmed hundreds of children received “risky treatment” from a doctor working in mental health services in South Kerry and significant harm was caused to 46 children.  The Irish Times reported that the review analysed the treatment of more than 1,300 children who attended South Kerry CAMHS over a period of 4 years. 

It is entirely inappropraite for any patient to suffer harm at the hands of their medical practitioner but the sense of outrage is hightened when one considers the particularly vunerable group of young people "harmed" in the the circumstances outlined in the report.

Concerns about the prescribing of medicine

The Report noted that risks to the children concerned included distress, dulled feelings, slowed thinking, weight gain and sleepiness. In addition, the review confirmed that the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for secondary school children was habitually made “without the right amount of information from teachers on how the children were at school”.  The report also highlights that assessments for unwanted effects from prescribed medication were not carried out.  These include assessments related to blood pressure, pulse, height and weight.

Concerns about the prescribing of the medication were apparently clear since 2019.

The HSE expresses remorse

The HSE has apologised to approximately 250 families for substandard care which has been revealed. It is reported that the doctor believed that they were helping  and did not intend to harm the patients they treated. The review has made 35 recommendations and these have been welcomed.

Nevertheless, where the HSE has failed in its duty of care to children, their parents are urged to obtain independent legal advice from an experienced medical negligence solicitor.* There is a time limit to initiate a claim for medical negligence in Ireland.

If your loved one has been affected by the findings of this report, it is important to get legal advice from specialist solicitors who understand the unique nature of medical negligence claims.*

Please contact our team to discuss your personal circumstances confidentially. We are here to provide expert advice when you need it most.

Call us today on 1800 207 207 or contact us online.