High Court told man expressed suicidal thoughts before hospital discharge

The High Court has been told a 27 year old Donegal student who took his own life two days after he was discharged from Letterkenny General Hospital had clearly expressed suicidal thoughts in front of hospital staff.

Michael Orpen, a former Naval employee, went to the hospital in November 2006 after taking tablets and driving to Bruckless pier. However, his mother Ellen Ann Orpen, who is suing the HSE for negligence, claims after attending both A&E and the psychiatric unit, he was discharged by a junior doctor and advised to drink plenty of water and go to counselling.

The court has been told that Mr Orpen clearly said in front of hospital ataff "I wanted to do it, I wanted to drive into the sea". However, the HSE insists he never expressed suicidal thoughts in front of the doctor who assessed him on the night in question.

His sister Mary Ellen told the court that Michael had been stressed because he didn't have a steady job, and felt his parents were diaappointed in him. She told the court that she knew her brother as an upbeat person, and rejected siggestions from counsel for the HSE that he had always been unhappy and felt he was too serious at times.

The case continues.