'At last we can grieve for Jake (14)', says mother after gunshot verdict
THE MOTHER of a 14-year-old boy who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound said it was a "huge relief" that an open verdict has been returned at an inquest into his death.
Jake McGill Lynch died at Tallaght Hospital on March 20, 2013, as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home at Woodford Terrace in Clondalkin, Dublin 22.
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," she said after the inquest.
"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," Mrs McGill Lynch said.
The inquest heard that Jake was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in early 2012 and he suffered from anxiety issues. He had been prescribed Prozac to help with his anxiety and started taking the medication 46 days before his death.
In an email written 24 hours before his death, Jake said he was feeling "drugged" and described how he had "panicked to the point of tears before some pretty big exams" and was comforted by his mother.
The Coroner said Jake was obviously a talented young man and his email showed "his extraordinary level of intelligence".
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.
Mrs McGill Lynch said she was unaware of the side effects of the drug.
"Kids are walking around drugged out of their minds, we have a generation of zombies," she said.
Consultant Paediatric Psychiatrist at Temple Street Children's Hospital Dr Brian Houlihan gave evidence in relation to the possible link between Prozac and suicidal ideation.
He said Prozac can lead to increased suicidal ideation in some patients, but not to increased instances of suicide.
One fifth of adolescents experience suicidal thoughts, according to Dr Houlihan.
Medics at Temple Street Children's University Hospital are treating one patient per day presenting with self-inflicted injuries or threatening to self harm, he said.
About 8pc of children and young adults who experience suicidal ideation attempt to take their own lives, Dr Houlihan said.
"Of these, it is thought 1pc will lead to completed suicide. It sounds small but it's very significant," he said.