Wednesday 24 January 2018

Rugby loving teen found dead on grounds of hospital, inquest hears

The Dublin Coroner's Court
The Dublin Coroner's Court

Louise Roseingrave

A MOTHER has raised concerns over psychiatric treatment her son received before taking his own life aged 17.

Daniel (Dan) Hogan was found on the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Donnybrook on July 8 2014, just hours after he was assessed by a psychiatrist.

The teen, who loved rugby, had attended St Joseph’s Adolescent Inpatient Unit in Fairview as an involuntary patient in the weeks prior to his death. At an inquest into his death, his mother claimed he was traumatised by this experience and said it contributed to his death.

“We’ve lost Dan, Dan is gone. He was ill. I’m thinking of other kids in other situations now and I’m prepared to stick my neck out for other kids,” his mother, Elaine Clear said at Dublin Coroner’s Court.

She said she and Dan’s father were asked to leave the facility and their son was left alone after his admission to  St Joseph’s Adolescent Unit.

“We were told to leave, he was in effect put into solitary confinement. I think the trauma incurred then contributed to his (later) actions,” Ms Clear said.

The inquest heard that Dan had a history of problems experiencing low mood and distress through his teens, having been diagnosed initially with ADHD in 2010.

In 2011 he experienced an ‘episode of significant distress,’ was admitted to hospital and prescribed a low dose of the anti-psychotic medication, risperidone.

He deteriorated again after his Junior Certificate and was prescribed fluoxetine (Prozac) as he began Transition Year, which ‘was a very positive’ year for him,the court heard. Dan became low again as he was due to begin 5th year, Consultant Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr Blanaid Gavin of the Lucena Clinic for adolescent mental health services told the court.

In early 2014, Dan was taking the antidepressant fluoxetine  and risperidone but his condition ‘appeared to worsen’ according to Dr Gavin. He began to experience suicidal thoughts and was referred to St Joseph’s Unit in Fairview by the Lucena clinic. Discharged on June 23 2014, he remained ‘quite low in himself’ and an increased dose of fluoxetine was prescribed.

On July 7  2014, the day before he was found dead, Dan appeared in good form and spoke about plans for the summer, Dr Gavin said.

“He said he felt he’d been able to make sense of things and develop a more positive attitude,” Dr Gavin said.  Dan’s body was found by a gardener on the grounds of the Royal Hospital the following day.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell adjourned the inquest until March 22 to allow for a representative of St Joseph’s Adolescent Unit answer the concerns raised by Ms Clear.

No concerns were raised in relation to outpatient care provided by Dr Gavin and the family thanked Dr Gavin and the gardai for their support.

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