Monday 19 August 2019

Psychiatric patient awarded €7.25m after fall from multi-storey car park while on hospital day release pass

Andrew Curtin, of Ballincurra Gardens, Limerick pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Tues) after a High Court action.Pic: Collins Courts 9/7/19
Andrew Curtin, of Ballincurra Gardens, Limerick pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Tues) after a High Court action.Pic: Collins Courts 9/7/19
Andrew Curtin, of Ballincurra Gardens, Limerick pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Tues) after a High Court action.Pic: Collins Courts 9/7/2019

Tim Healy

A man who was released on a day pass from a psychiatric unit and later fell from a multi-storey car park has settled his High Court action against the HSE for €7.25million.

Andrew Curtin ran from his mother's car in Limerick city in September 2011 and into a multi storey car park where he fell from the first floor and suffered "appalling injuries" to his spine, the court heard.

Liability was admitted by the HSE.

Mr Curtin had been admitted to the hospital unit after coming off his medication for a condition diagnosed nine years earlier of depression with psychotic features.

It was claimed that two days before he got his day release pass, Mr Curtin had been regarded as "high risk."

Mr Curtin, who is 35 and uses a wheelchair, told the court he is well and said he has seen sense in relation to staying on his medication.

He was in court with his mother Ann, who six years ago was named the Carers Association Carer of the Year for looking after her son and her husband Michael, who has since died. A separate legal action brought by Mrs Curtin for nervous shock over the incident is still before the courts.

Andrew Curtin, Ballinacurra Gardens,Limerick, sued the HSE over the incident on September 14, 2011. He had been an inpatient of the psychiatric unit of the Mid West Regional Hospital, Dooradoyle, Limerick from September 5 to September 14, 2011.

His counsel, John O'Mahony, told the court it was a very tragic case where Mr Curtin began to suffer depression with psychotic features.

Mr Curtin graduated and also studied for an MA and was episode free for six years.

In May 2011 he decided to come off his medication and appeared to be doing well until August that year. He became unwell on September 5, 2011 and was admitted to hospital.

It was claimed that on September 12 the view was formed that Mr Curtin should not have come off his medication and that he was "high risk."

However, he requested and was given a day release pass for September 14.

Counsel said his family were apprehensive about the day pass.

Mrs Curtin picked her son up in the car and brought him to Limerick city to collect his father. It was claimed Andrew released the safety catch on the door of the car and ran down the street to the car park.

Counsel said Mr Curtin fell from a height to the ground. He said Andrew has been living in a nursing home would now like to live at home.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement and wished Mr Curtin all the best.

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