Bereaved mother loses negligence case against the HSE

The mother of a 27-year-old man who killed himself after being discharged from the psychiatric unit at Letterkenny General Hospital has lost her negligence case against the HSE in the High Court.

Ellen Ann Orpen argued that the HSE had failed to provide adequate care to her son Michael when he presented himself at the hospital in November 2006.

Mrs Orpen, from Dunkineely, claimed that given a history of suicide in the family, the HSE was negligent in discharging him from Letterkenny General Hospital into his sister's care on November 14th 2006.

Earlier, the former Naval officer had taken tablets and driven to the pier in Bruckless intending to drive in to the water. Instead, he voluntarily went to the hospital. Two days later, he returned to Bruckless and drove off the pier.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Iarfhliath O’Neill said he had come to the conclusion that neither the senior psychiatric officer on duty that night nor the consultant psychiatrist involved failed in their duty of care, and he was satisfied the approach taken was entirely consistent with psychiatric practice.

Mr Justice O Neill said Michael had denied any psychiatric illness in the family when questioned at the hospital.