Tuesday 28 February 2017

Psychiatrist denies termination advice for pregnant woman

Tim Healy

PSYCHIATRIST Patricia Casey strongly denies allegations that she advised a pregnant woman that termination of her disabled unborn child was an option for her, the High Court heard yesterday.

It followed claims in proceedings brought by the daughter of the woman against Professor Casey and a gynaecologist, in which it is alleged they failed to give proper advice about the effects of drugs she was prescribed during her pregnancy.

It is alleged Rebecca McGillin, now aged eight, was exposed to a risk of injury as a result of the failure of Prof Casey and Dr Mary Holohan to properly assess the nature and type of prescription drugs being taken by her mother Lisa Glynn McGillin (40).

Rebecca was born with a hand deformity and has balancing and other difficulties. Prof Casey had allegedly diagnosed Ms McGillin some years earlier as having mild bi-polar disorder.

On the second day of the case yesterday, Murray McGrath, counsel for Prof Casey, told the court a claim in relation to the alleged termination advice, which had been pleaded in court papers, was not being pursued in the child's case. Ms McGillen has separate proceedings, which have yet to be heard.

Distressed

It was alleged Prof Casey had discussed options, including termination, after Ms McGillen contacted her in a distressed state about a January 2001 scan indicating her foetus had a hand deformity and growth retardation. The court heard the termination suggestion was strongly refuted and both sides had agreed it would not be dealt with in the child's case.

Prof Casey has a very high profile as a pro-life anti-abortionist over many years, counsel said.

She now "finds this allegation highlighted in media reports in a case in which she will not have an opportunity to put her case, which is that she never advised, condoned or acquiesced in any suggestion of an abortion," Mr McGrath said.

His side wanted that put on the record now, counsel added.

Giving evidence yesterday, Ms McGillen, who suffers from depression, said she was never advised by Prof Casey or Dr Holohan to cease taking a prescription drug on grounds it could cause birth defects in pregnancy.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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