Tuesday 25 July 2017

Psychiatric patient (73) paralysed after he was stabbed by schizophrenic man armed with kitchen knife

James McGrane was stabbed by a patient.
James McGrane was stabbed by a patient.

Louis Rosengrave

A 73-year-old man's spine was severed when he was stabbed by a fellow patient on a psychiatric ward in an unprovoked attack.

James McGrane of College Park, Terenure, Dublin 6, was stabbed by a patient suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the Health Service Executive-run psychiatric facility at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght on May 11, 2010.

Mr McGrane was attacked by a fellow patient armed with a kitchen knife purchased in Argos at Tallaght Shopping Centre just hours before the incident.

Severed

His spinal cord was severed in the attack, which left him in a paraplegic state with limited movement in his arms and no feeling in his legs. He died seven months later.

In a statement to gardaí the day after the incident, Mr McGrane said he was sitting on his bed waiting for his psychologist to arrive when he was suddenly attacked.

"I picked up my phone to check the time and the next thing I felt this awful thump into my back. I didn't realise I'd been stabbed, I just felt pain," he told gardaí.

At an inquest into his death, his daughter Audrey O'Farrell said the family had received no report, review or investigation findings from the HSE over the five years since the incident.

"We feel very disappointed and let down by the HSE that they have never come to us and tried to give us any explanation. We don't want this to happen to anyone else," she said.

Psychiatric nurse Deirdre O'Sullivan was at the nurse's station a few feet from Mr McGrane's room when the perpetrator, identified as 'Patient A', came running from the room.

The two men were bed neighbours and shared the room with four other patients.

"Patient A ran out of Room 2 shouting he'd stabbed someone. He said this several times," Nurse O'Sullivan said.

"James was lying on his bed, with a knife in his back, he was groaning," she said.

She escorted Patient A to a secure room on the ward.

Garda Ciaran Loughrey of Tallaght Garda Station said when he arrived on the ward Mr McGrane "had a large kitchen knife protruding from his neck/shoulder area".

Garda Loughrey arrested Patient A three days later but no trial took place.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had recently arrived on the Rowan Ward from the higher observation Aspen Ward, a locked unit within the same facility on the grounds of Tallaght Hospital.

Contributory

His condition had been improving and he was preparing for discharge, the inquest heard.

Mr McGrane, a married father of six, died seven months later.

Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy said the cause of death was principally due to heart disease and pneumonia with the stab wound as a contributory factor.

The knife injury had precipitated or accelerated Mr McGrane's heart problems, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

The inquest continues.

Irish Independent

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