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My Sister, My Son and An Irish Coincidence.

Shane and his aunt... Pub quiz May 2009Ireland is a fairly small incestuous country, notoriously resistant to change and outside influence. Our leading ‘experts’ are given free rein to spout whatever gospel they wish, largely uncontested, much like the erroneous messages the catholic church spouted not so long ago. Look how that ended for our ‘land of saints and scholars’ (sorry mam!).

This week, despite saying in my last post that I was done arguing, I ended up doing just that. I spoke on Newstalk radio along with Prof Healy and a highly indignant Dr Moosajee Bhamjee (the same Dr Bhamjee who wanted to put Lithium in our water). Okay, maybe I’m biased here; you can make up your own mind by accessing the recording via the newstalk picture below:

The Right Hook

Getting back to the incestuous reference, it seems that being a small country, most of us will have come into contact with someone who happens to have worked with, be related to, was married to, divorced by, or was a neighbour to someone else that we both knew. Now how’s this for a coincidence….

The latter radio discussion came about after I sent an e-mail to the show expressing my concerns over the resident expert Dr Ciara Kelly and her portrayal that SSRI antidepressants were, and I quote “the drugs themselves are not dangerous, they’re not addictive, they’re not even dangerous at high levels of overdose.” She also said, regarding Niamh Drohan’s investigation into over-prescribing (see last 2 posts here and here), that the 7 doctors did the right thing in prescribing antidepressants for a first time patient with mild depression.

Dr Ciara Kelly

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 answeredOne 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 …”. OH GOD, seriously, was I supposed to ignore that?

Anyway back to the coincidence; in 2011 my sister, whom I wrote about before here, was very unhappy about going back to work. She had just had a new baby and was besotted by her, but as needs must, needed to return to her job in the bank. The thoughts of leaving her daughter filled her with dread and she was feeling terribly unhappy. She was also dealing with the recent horrific death of her much-loved nephew Shane. She dispatched herself off to the local doctor who promptly, after about 10 minutes, told her she needed to go on antidepressants. My sister refused, explaining what had happened to Shane, her nephew, and the terrible consequences because of these drugs. Alas, to no avail; the doctor seemed to ignore her protestations and insisted that she needed antidepressants. As she was leaving my sister asked the doctor if she thought she “would get better?” The doctor’s response was.. “Not without the tablets!” My sister who politely and tearfully refused, left without a prescription, feeling much worse than she had when she went in. For my sister, who is a big softie and nothing like me, and who would never argue with anyone (husband not included), making a stand such as this would have been a huge thing for her to do.

She duly went back to work and was back to her old cheery self soon afterwards. Did I say she lives in Greystones, where Dr Kelly practices? You can see where this is going? Absolutely! I discovered last night that Dr Kelly is the very same doctor who told my sister she wouldn’t get better without taking antidepressants. You were wrong AGAIN Dr Kelly. By the way, I’m not singling out Dr Kelly; she is doing what most other GPs are probably doing. It doesn’t follow though, that the practice of going against the recommended guidelines is good practice, even if they’re all doing it. It’s sad though that Dr Kelly, instead of listening to the testimony of her patient, Shane’s aunt, instead chose to believe the ‘Irish Psychiatry’ stance that antidepressants can ‘do no harm’.

Information for the concerned doctor:

Toxicology tests are widely under-reported mostly due to the cost factor. This is where Coroners and families need to step up to the plate, otherwise uninformed doctor’s will still think these drugs are safe. Here are some victims who have died by a safe ‘SSRI only’ overdose, courtesy of Brian at ‘AntiDepAware‘.

Citalopram/Cipramil/Celexa:  Karen Gloster (2005), Barbara BerryDeborah Owens (2006), Rhian Evans (2007), Rodney Harrop (2008), Philip Bromley (2009), Belinda KellyMichael MillerNatalie CashinSusan Mealing (2010), Patrick Carroll (2011), Malcolm AverissRobert Lennon (2012)

Fluoxetine/Prozac: Donna ChaseMark Cain (2003), Christine ByrneDianne Pickersgill (2008)

Sertraline/Zoloft: Dale Pashley (2007), Brian Elder (2010), Afsheen Khan (2011)

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Newspaper and internet articles, Our story.

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. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22996077 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: http://wp.rxisk.org/videos/  Brian’s take on Niamh’s article here.

cipramil (celexa) stories,

Don’t mess with the mama’s.

Sometimes I wonder as i’m sure other people do, why I actually bother doing this and don’t just get on with my life and forget about what happened with Shane, as it’s something I can’t ever win. Maybe it’s the way I was brought up, to actually believe in right and wrong and the fact that good will always overcome evil and lies will always be uncovered.

We have had plenty of bad press, coming from Irish psychiatry (surprise, surprise), priests who say that “evil should never be blamed on depression” and a couple of journalists who implied that Shane was trying to get “in” with the upper classes!

I’ve been informed that this lovely “Christian priest” had a right ould Sallynoggin rollicking from a few of my mam’s neighbours. As I said to my mam “that priest has nothing to do with the same God I was brought up with” and the fact that Shane never lived in Sallynoggin didn’t really fit the picture, but never let a good story step in the way! 

Am I supposed to crawl under my working class rock? Am I supposed to apologise for bringing my children up to look after the people who are less fortunate than we are? Am I supposed to apologise for being brought up in Sallynoggin? NEVER! You won’t ever find nicer people than the people of Sallynoggin and I am so very proud to have been brought up there. ALWAYS! “Up the noggin!”

Shane would have thought it was hilarious because I have never known someone who was as comfortable in his own skin as Shane was. He was so very proud of his granny (and grandad) from Sallynoggin and often brought his friends over to meet them. He thought he was so lucky and it would never have occured to him that some people would have thought less of him because he came from a working class background, he actually thought he had it all!

Shane lived in Dalkey because it was on the dart line and was close to the college he was going to, and because his cousin, his uncle and his aunt had three of the 4 apartments in the house, and the one he was living in was vacated by his aunt and uncle when they moved to Greystones,(my sister and brother in law!)

I have been asked “how can you cope with the things that have been said about Shane?” and I didn’t really know how to answer that one. It took me a while to figure that one out and figure out why it didn’t upset me the way it did Shane’s friends and family, I thought about it for a while and wondered if I was going mad (well madder than I already was), before I figured it out, you can’t hurt a person with a broken heart because the worst thing that can happen has already happened!

I will always be aware that there are other people involved in this and can never reconcile the fact that Shane caused another families heartache, but I will never believe that Shane was capable of violence to himself or another, without the intervention of the antidepressant cipramil.

Leonie,

From Sallynoggin.