Anti-psychotic drugs making girl (16) move like elderly woman, court told

Mother of teenager seeking to have her moved to different hospital

The mother of a girl being treated in a Health Service Executive adolescent psychiatric unit  told Mr Justice George Bermingham (pictured) that anti-psychotic drugs had made her daughter walk like a 70-year-old woman.

The mother of a girl being treated in a Health Service Executive adolescent psychiatric unit told Mr Justice George Bermingham (pictured) that anti-psychotic drugs had made her daughter walk like a 70-year-old woman.

Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 20:36

The mother of a 16-year-old girl being treated in a Health Service Executive adolescent psychiatric unit told the High Court today her daughter “walks like a 70-year-old woman” since anti-psychotic drugs were administered to her.

She told Mr Justice George Birmingham her daughter was “hunched over”, her arms were “stiff at her side” and she was “shuffling along” when she visited her. She said the teenager had phoned her repeatedly and asked to come home.

She also read a note to the court which she said her daughter had written.

“Sitting on my bed suffering in pain alone. All by myself and nobody cares. I feel so much pain it’s unbelievable. I really want to go home but nobody will let me go home. I have given up. I have lost all hope.”

The mother said she and her daughter were not being listened to and she asked the judge to have the girl transferred to a different hospital.

The mother had opposed the administration of anti-psychotic drugs after her daughter was admitted to hospital following a psychotic episode in January. The HSE then obtained a District Court order to detain the girl. And in April, Mr Justice Birmingham made an order continuing her treatment.

Psychiatrist Dr Michelle Harley had described the girl as extremely unwell with paranoid delusions and disinhibited behaviour.

Counsel for the HSE said the girl had since been making “slow but definitely discernible progress” except in the last week when there had been “a deterioration”. He sought permission to administer other medication to the girl if required.

Counsel for the girl’s guardian ad litem, a court appointed guardian, also said the girl had gone from not communicating to “smiling appropriately and answering questions appropriately”.

But counsel for the girl’s father, who had previously supported her treatment, withdrew his support. He believed her “demeanour and health had regressed”.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who was given an up-to-date report from Dr Harley, said it made “very distressing reading”. He was “not impressed” by what he had read about the girl’s mother, he said.

He referred to her “erratic and unacceptable behaviour” and said it raised questions about the weight to be attributed to her evidence. He had no reason to doubt Dr Harvey’s “competence and professionalism”, he said, but suggested the HSE obtained an independent report to offer “reassurance to the family”.

He adjourned the case until October.