Monday 25 March 2019

Revenue official took his own life after complaining to doctors about 'being overwhelmed' with his workload

The Dublin Coroners Court, Store St. Pic Tom Burke.
The Dublin Coroners Court, Store St. Pic Tom Burke.

Louise Roseingrave

A revenue official who felt overwhelmed with his workload checked into a mental health service hospital before taking his own life. The man, from north Dublin worked as a higher executive officer with the Revenue Commissioners.

He was on leave from work in 2014 suffering from work related stress when he voluntarily checked into St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin.

“He had thoughts of hopelessness and anxiety, he described work related pressure since colleagues began to leave in 2009 and had not been replaced,” Consultant in General Adult Psychiatry at St Patrick’s Dr Gavin Rush said.

Described as a ‘careful and anxious individual’ the man told doctors he had experienced a lack of support from his superiors at work. He spoke of one occasion where he had over 500 emails to answer and felt ‘overwhelmed by his workload.’

The jury at an inquest into his death returned an open verdict.

He left the hospital without informing staff and took a taxi to Howth Head on April 24 2014.. Taxi driver Roy Reader drove him from Heuston Station to Howth.

“I got a weird feeling. There was something wrong, he was too quiet,” Mr Reader said.

Cyclist Malcolm Gosden told the court he witnessed the man running towards the cliff before he went over the edge.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that the deceased entered St Patrick’s Hospital on April 8 2014. Over the next two weeks his medication was changed from the anti-depressant mirtazapine, to flouxotine, used in the treatment of depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Dr Rush said the man displayed traits of anankastic personality disorder, a condition characterised by chronic preoccupation with rules, orderliness, and control, though no formal diagnosis was made.

Following a ‘hypomanic’episode of bizarre behaviour on April 22, doctors changed the man’s treatment, stopping all anti-depressant medication. He was instead prescribed the anti psychotic drug olanzepine, described by Dr Rush as a ‘major tranquiliser.’

Two days later he was captured on CCTV leaving the hospital at 3.21pm. He was recovered by Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat at the foot of cliffs at Whitewater Brook suffering a major head injury. He was pronounced dead at Howth RNLI station. The cause of death was extensive cranial trauma resulting from a fall from a height.

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