Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Our son was stitched up in A&E, given a prescription and sent home'

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

GARDAI and the emergency services should undergo training to help families cope with bereavement caused by suicide, according to the report.

In one case, a family said they had to console a garda who arrived at their home following the death of a loved one.

Statutory services provided by the HSE, gardai and other agencies were described by families in a "frequently unfavourable light", with health services described as "negative or very negative" by 66pc of respondents.

Justice was seen as negative by almost 20pc of families, especially around sensitive and effective communication.

Some 104 families were interviewed for the study, 84 of the victims were male, and 20 female.

One family reported that their son had been "stitched up in accident and emergency, given a month's prescription, and sent home". Another said they had been sent to another hospital with a note that read: "Sorry, not our area".

Other accounts included criticism of a lack of training among the gardai, with one family having to console the young garda sent to the scene of their son's tragic suicide death.


Another family said the best friend of a suicide victim was detained in a garda station for six hours after reporting that he had found his friend's body. In another instance, a suicidal young man, who later took his life, was arrested on a bridge "to teach him a lesson".

The report also criticises coroner's inquests, including one where eight different families endured the details of their cases at the same sitting.

In another instance, one family revealed how they were told by phone that they were "going to take his brain out . . . they gave it back to us five months later, in a box. I think maybe it was for research, I don't know".

In a section dealing with education, one student said he had been "beaten up" by a teacher which contributed to his suicide. Other students were subjected to humiliation such as "being placed in junior classes" and in another instance having a student's private journal retained as a "threat".

"It is of paramount importance that all statutory agencies are trained to respond appropriately to such teenagers in all instances, and under no circumstances can they afford to make matters worse," the report said.

Irish Independent

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