Man prescribed antipsychotic drug settles High Court action for €1.2m

Terence O’Sullivan developed movement disorder after treatment at Kerry General Hospital

Approving the €1.225 million settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross noted the issues in relation to liability and causation in the case.

Approving the €1.225 million settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross noted the issues in relation to liability and causation in the case.

 

A man who was prescribed an antipsychotic drug and later developed a movement disorder has settled a High Court action for €1.2 million.

The settlement was made without admission of liability.

Terence O’Sullivan sued over his treatment at Kerry General Hospital after he was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Risperidone.

On Tuesday, his counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC said Mr O’Sullivan now has a very serious movement disorder and has to use a wheelchair.

Their case was there was failure to recognise the mobility issue as a possible side effect of the drug.

Mr O’Sullivan (43), Steelroe, Killorglin,Co Kerry, had, through his mother Helen O’Sullivan, sued the HSE over his treatment at the hospital.

Mr O’Sullivan attended the hospital in 2000 as he had begun to experience physical and psychological problems.

The drug Risperidone was prescribed. He took the drug morning and evening and it was claimed it contributed to his developing extremely serious physical symptoms and infirmities.

It was claimed there was failure to advise him of the risks and potential side effects of taking Risperidone and failure to monitor him adequately or at all for signs of adverse effects of the drug.

Claims denied

It was further claimed there was failure to take him off the drug either in time or at all and failure to review his condition and the prescribed medication at regular intervals.

All the claims were denied.

In November 2002, Mr O’Sullivan began to feel unwell and reduced the intake of the drug himself. When this was discovered, he claimed he was advised to continue taking the drug as originally prescribed.

Gradually, between 2000 and 2007, his gait and posture deteriorated especially on his left side and in early 2005 he began to experience severe and involuntary twitching in his eyes. He developed a drooped posture and back pain and his ability to walk became affected.

It was claimed, at a general conference of some of his medics in July 2007, it was generally agreed the cause of Mr O’Sullivan’s symptoms appeared to be the drug.

He was taken off the drug and it was claimed his physical symptoms improved but, within a few months, he was suffering other physical symptoms such as fever and uncontrollable movements of his face and body.

Six years ago, there was a further deterioration in his walking ability and he now uses a wheelchair outside his home.

Dr O’Mahony said the family were satisfied with the settlement.

Approving the €1.225 million settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross noted the issues in relation to liability and causation in the case. It was a very good settlement in the circumstances, the judge said and extended best wishes to the family.