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Officially Knackered

Knackered 1That’s it, I’m officially wrecked; as in knackered, exhausted, on the scrapheap, whatever you want to call it. I have spent the last few years, since Shane died in 2009, trying to change the world and put right the indefensible.

Ireland is such a small country that a little misinformation goes a long way and the misinformation surrounding prescribed drugs, whether intentional or not, has given the impression that most prescription drugs are safe. They’re not. My son is dead because of misinformation and our belief that doctor’s knew best. Sadly and increasingly, that is not always the case. Antidepressants can kill. They can cause suicide, homicide, violence, mania, worsening depression and akathisia, etc, etc. Here’s a few examples of very recent misinformation still being dished out in Irish Media:

1. This week in an Irish Independent article “GPs advised on options of medication and therapy“, the author wrote “Doctors were advised to prescribe benzodiazepine – anti-depressants that are addictive – if the patient developed increased agitation and only for a short period”. Now it doesn’t take a genius to tell you that benzodiazepines are not an antidepressant. I felt I had to comment, which the Indo duly published.

2. Following Niamh Drohan’s investigation into the over-prescribing of antidpressants (see last post), yesterday’s ‘Midday’ on TV3 did a segment on whether doctors were indeed over-prescribing. Some good points were made and I think the overall impression was that yes, GPs were over-prescribing. Then near the end Fiona Looney (a TV and radio personality) said “No-one of them (GPs) over-prescribed”. Seriously Fiona? Despite the doctor’s diagnosing this girl with mild depression which antidepressants are not recommended for, therefore all arguably over-prescribed, you don’t think a prescription for a lethal dose of 1 month, 2 months, 3 months and 6 months is over-prescribing? My son took 39 Cipramil in 17 days and his toxicology report showed a ‘toxic to fatal’ amount in his system. You may want to re-visit your argument Fiona. The show can be viewed here and this comment is around 15 mins. Again I felt compelled to comment, but they didn’t read that one out!

3. Again following Niamh’s investigation, George Hook had an expert on his Newstalk radio show, a Dr Ciara Kelly from Greystones, who wrongly pointed out that “the drugs themselves are not dangerous, they’re not addictive, they’re not even dangerous at high levels of overdose.” While patients suffering terrible withdrawal symptoms would argue the addictive point, the other point she made was far more dangerous. Not dangerous at high levels? Referring to the toxicity of SSRIs, George asked Dr Kelly: “What would happen if I took 55 of them (antidepressants) with my cup of tea?” Doctor Kelly answered “One of the reasons that the SSRI tablets are as popular as they are, is that compared to older type of antidepressants, is that they are safer in overdose. So there are not the same levels as Cardio Toxicity …” She never once said that 55 pills could certainly be fatal. Neither did she mention that some SSRIs, including Citalopram AKA Escitalopram are actually associated with Cardio Toxicity. You sure need to be worried when even the IMB send out a warning letter. Again I felt I had to comment and sent off an e-mail to George which will be followed up shortly. I’ll keep you posted. The show can be found here. Scroll to the ‘Right Hook’ for Wed 3rd April and click on number 3.

How could these people and in particularly a doctor, whom George Hook described as an ‘expert’, be allowed to misinform the public on such an important and life-threatening’ subject? Where is the medical body or ethical committee which stops Irish people being misinformed on such a large scale?

I’m off for a few days to do some much-needed studying and maybe make/burn some fairy cakes; anything which doesn’t include commenting or arguing. Incidentally, here’s a segment (3 mins) from Professor Healy’s ‘Chicago-Kent School of Law’ lecture which involves Shane. Regarding the mention of any other names; I apologise, this is outside of my control.

The full Full video can be viewed here:  Brian’s take on Niamh’s article here.

7 thoughts on “Officially Knackered”

  1. How we can continue to use the words Medical and Ethics in the same sentence utterly mystifies me. Here’s a tiny sampler of posts I’ve tagged Medical Ethics.

    Here’s the tag, with 30 posts of what Medicine’s Ethics look like.

    I’m not surprised you’re exhausted, expecting This Industry to actually give a Flying Rip.

    But then, they’ve an illustrious past to live up to:

    “More than 7% of all German physicians became members of the Nazi SS during WWII, compared with less than 1% of the general population.”

    And no one twisted their arms. It was all voluntary.


  2. Leonie,

    I completely understand your exasperation. I was particularly livid, after hearing the resident GP on George Hook, and I heard similar arguments made on other shows, by other doctors. Of course it was going to be a whitewash. But in your lifetime, things will change, but without people like you, they never will. So keep doing what you are doing, even if it feels like banging your head against a stone wall two thirds of the time.


  3. Thanks for the comments. Banging my head against a brick wall is right. Ireland is way behind the rest of the world with the over-prescribing of psychiatry’s ‘medical model’. The IMB who could say that yes, all of these doctor’s over-prescribed and went against the recommended guidelines, are staying silent. Medical ethics? Eh, nope!
    And no, I didn’t burn the fairy cakes either.


    1. Strange that the right hook show had Mohsajee Bhamjee arguing with David Healy. Dr Bhamjee recently argued that lithium should be put in drinking water supplies. You’d laugh, if it weren’t so serious.


      1. Hi Shea,
        Did you hear it? You see! I couldn’t help myself, didn’t last one day before I was at it again. I thought Dr Bhamjee would be nice, if a tad loopy, particularly after reading about his Lithium idea. He disappointed me. He was like all Irish Psychiatrists, defending the ‘medical model’ vehemently. I had a vision of him jumping up and down having a tantrum while listening to David Healy. You’re right: it would be funny under different circumstances!


  4. Hi Leonie,
    The problem with Dr Bhamjee, or Dr Kelly, or anyone in the mainstream is the innate sense of authority the feel the must exude- it’s better to do something, rather than nothing, even if the something is harmful(the Hippocratic oath is now optional i believe). And to be fair, it’s not really their fault. Doctors are systematically lied to about the effects/side effects/efficacy of the pills they dish out. And people like me, in the so called alternative side of health care, are dismissed as unscientific and less complimentary terms :). And when you consider that the current minister for children, Francis Fitzgerald is married to the infamous child psychiatrist, Michael Fitzgerald, it’s easy to lose faith. But keep the chin up. You’re worth 100 of them 🙂 and things WILL change.


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