Our story., psychiatry, Random, Shanes story.

My rights as a mother; my appeal to P.J.Cowen.


Dear Professor Cowen,

I am contacting you regarding a report that you did for the Irish Medical Council last year. I had made a complaint to the IMC regarding my son Shane Clancy and the treatment or ill-treatment he received in the last 17 days of his life. My son visited 3 doctors in the 17 days preceding his death, how anyone could come to the conclusion that this care was adequate is beyond my comprehension. My primary objective in making this complaint was to stop this from happening to another family. Alas due, I can only assume to the contents of your report, the IMC decided not to take my complaint further.

The IMC declined to allow me, Shane’s mum, access to your report due to the fact that you marked the report “In Confidence”. Considering that I am Shane’s next of kin, it seems highly unethical or at least extremely unfair that I am not automatically privy to any information regarding my son’s death. The IMC also had access to Professor David Healy’s report which stated that, in his opinion, Citalopram caused my lovely son to behave in this manner. Professor Healy very kindly agreed to speak at Shane’s Inquest where the jury returned an “open verdict” due to his testimony on the known adverse effects of SSRI’s.

Considering the IMC’s decision, not to go further, I can only assume that your report must have stated the complete opposite to that of Professor Healy. I see that you have some previous academic disagreement with Professor Healy, have done a considerable amount of work for Lundbeck and had/have shares in GSK, the makers of Seroxat/Paxil. Considering that Lundbeck manufacture Citalopram, I would have thought that the ethical thing would have been to preclude yourself from this investigation.

I also came across your opinion where you say that you have a similar opinion to Professor Healy on the dangers of SSRI’s stating:

“However, as with other antidepressants, patients taking fluoxetine may experience rare adverse reactions than can be associated with the development of suicidal thinking and behaviour.” Therefore, it astounds me that if you stated this in your report, the IMC still decided not to go further and stop the same from happening to another unsuspecting consumer.

It is for this reason that I am requesting a copy of your report as I may be doing you a disservice. I note that I get a lot of hits on my blog from Oxford University; I assume that it may be yourself or your students? If you decide to furnish me with a copy of this report and your report is indeed an objective one, despite your links to Lundbeck, I would be quite happy to publish an unreserved apology.

The IMC are a public body and therefore should automatically have sent me this information. As a public body they are bound by the same ‘Freedom of Information’ Act that other Government agencies are governed by. Therefore before I embark on the FOI path I am appealing to your professionalism as an Oxford University Professor to kindly furnish me with the report that you submitted to the IMC.


Leonie Fennell

11 thoughts on “My rights as a mother; my appeal to P.J.Cowen.”

  1. People writing reports on our children and denying us access to them is a form of disrespect that i find intolerable. I cannot imagine a cardiologist or endocrinologist or any other real doctor wanting to keep their professional opinion secret from a child’s mother. If Professor Cowan and the IMC have confidence this report isobjective and evidence based, why would they not want you to have a copy? I love how psychiatry bangs on about partnerships with families and then proves time and time again that this is more of the empty rhetoric in which it specialises. We need to keep fighting psychiatry’s practice of hiding the bodies of the children it kills.


    1. You’re right Maria, why would any medical professional do a report and then want to keep it a secret?
      Also, the fact that someone can do a report on my son and the Irish Medical Council would deny me the right to see it is disgraceful. Professor Healy’s report is up on my blog for all to see, I did ask his permission first; this obviously means that he doesn’t have a problem allowing the report to be held up for scrutiny by other academics and drug companies. Hmmm…..


  2. In this day and age, the words “pharmaceutical agent” can describe a drug, a government agency or an influential medical “expert.” Considering the circumstances, the term “road agent” might better apply to all three of these, if we include “loved ones” and “justice” in the category of what such footpads might steal. Keep it up Leonie!


  3. There is also a big difference between allowing someone privacy while they are alive and then refusing access to loved ones when the person is dead. I do believe that people have a right to have medical information kept private if that is what they would like. Simply being under the age of 18 does not make someone unable to make informed decisions. If it did one would think that the second before they turned 18 they were totally defective, etc. Decision making capabilities increase with age and respect needs to given in line with age. Many medical records of adolescents are kept from parents if the adolescent does not consent to it. People need to be able to access medical care without fear of others finding out. I doubt the average parent would have a problem with there child seeing a cardiologist alone if they were 16 or 17. Good medical practice encourages people to bring in loved ones it does not force it. Of course this makes a mockery out of things when psychiatry does not obtain informed consent and does not tell people about the side effects of the medications they are given. And of course this should only apply while a person is alive and able to make some reasonable decision. Being temporarily unable to make decisions should not allow someone to come in and get access to all of your personal information. But if someone is deemed to be permanently disabled (and would have an adult guardian appointed for them) and definately when they die then there is no reason at all for that information to be kept from families. Hence I have a problem with what is being done here. You are seeking a report about your son’s death. There is no reason at all for that to be refused to you, and that shoudl be provided whether the person was an adult or child at the time of there death. Families should be entitled to all information. At an absolute minimum it is proven to help with the grieving process.


    1. Thanks for the comment,

      Informed Consent..in this country? By Irish psychiatry?

      You would have to wonder why the IMC have refused me access to this document in the first place. Although, maybe when they realise that “it is proven to help with the grieving process”, they will have a change of heart, as their primary reason ‘for being’ is to help poor unfortunates like us/me.
      I shall anticipate an imminent reply.



  4. Informed Consent? Oh Dear Gawd.

    Google Therapeutic Privilege+CEJA

    I won’t say more about it, because you’ll know Exactly what there is to say about it on EVERY PAGE IN ALL CAPS when you find it at the top of your search results.


    This entire Industry has come to view itself as owning Agent 007 immunity.


    1. Thanks for that; lots of info there. It’s really a cop-out, were these laws made up with them in mind? As BJ says, there is a big difference between allowing someone privacy while they are alive and then refusing access when the person has died.
      What’s the secrecy in aid of? Doesn’t serve any purpose. I think the IMC are at fault here, they said they didn’t have the expertise to deal with my complaint and yet they had 2 reports. What made them choose one. If I was a betting person I would say Professor Healy has the most experience in this area and would certainly be more qualified to judge. What makes them think that it’s ok to stop me, as Shane’s mother, from seeing this report?
      The God Squad in operation again?


  5. Same garbage the APA issues. Some nebulous, implied threat after they park an elephant out in the middle of the room that if you call attention to it, they’ll loose the hounds of litigation on you. The APA’s idiot diagnoser’s manual contains dire threats of copyright infringement action if you reproduce their Ideations without their express, written permission.

    1: HOW is anyone supposed to know if they’re in danger of developing a ‘Mental Illness’ if they’re not allowed to even Read the defining criteria without shelling out at least $90 for the book first?

    2: Their sooper dooper decoder manual can’t be properly interpreted by the little people. Only those initiated into the Pharma University Sacred Mysteries can be trusted to properly understand all the ins and outs of collectivist think, push the drugs, and deny, deny, deny, etc.

    3: Everyone Else must consult one of the APA’s Delphic Oracles (who in America all have extra legal State Programs to keep their own Ideations off of them) and Whamo, Instant ‘Sick in the Head Forever’ without tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in Court Costs to scrape it off.

    I’ve never seen an entire Industry so deathly afraid of having outsiders find out What they’re up to.



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