Two children settle High Court claims over south Kerry Camhs treatment

Mediator adds ‘uplift’ of thousands of euros over the way each boy and his family were treated by the service

Two children who it was claimed were prescribed an antipsychotic drug when they were treated by south Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) have settled their High Court actions.

In addition to the compensation money in each case, an “uplift” of thousands of euros was added by the mediator reviewing the cases over the way each boy and his family were treated by south Kerry Camhs, which is operated by the HSE.

Ms Justice Emily Egan approved the settlements against the HSE, presented to the court by the boys’ legal team of Michael Sutton SC instructed by solicitor Dan O’Connor, which included an award of €77,500 to a now 16 year old and €30,000 to a now 13 year old.

In the first case, the now 16 year old was referred to Camhs when he was five and the following year he was diagnosed with ADHD.

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It was claimed the boy was inappropriately started on treatment with Risperidone, an antipsychotic drug, in October 2019 for a period of 14 months. It was further claimed there was no rationale for this treatment explained to his parents. The boy frequently fell asleep at school and also gained weight.

Mediator Hugh Mohan SC, in his determination, said the boy who had now improved considerably was entitled to €70,000 compensation but there must also be an uplift. He said that uplift arose because of how the boy was “treated throughout the system”.

“Instead of being monitored and overseen, he and his family were poorly treated with their concerns not taken seriously,” Mr Mohan said.

The mediator noted that “the system” did engage with the boy through other doctors from 2020 on, leaving him in an improved state. He therefore considered €7,500 was a reasonable uplift, bringing the final settlement figure to €77,500.

In the second case the now 13-year-old boy was referred to Camhs four years ago and was diagnosed with ADHD. In his determination, Mr Mohan said it seemed to be the case that the boy was exposed to a dose of Risperidone for eight months unnecessarily.

He noted that the boy’s parents suffered significant distress and the non-treatment of the boy’s ADHD symptoms caused more difficulties for him at school and at home. Assessing compensation at €25,000, Mr Mohan said there must be an uplift because of how the boy “was treated throughout the system”.

Instead of being monitored and overseen, he said the boy and his family were “poorly treated and their concerns not taken seriously”. Mr Mohan noted it was not for a prolonged period of time and the boy was now in a much-improved situation. He assessed the uplift at €5,000, bringing the total award to €30,000.

A State compensation scheme was set up in 2022 after the controversy over the care provided by south Kerry Camhs was revealed. A review of the care of 1,300 young people who attended the HSE-run service also took place. It found that the care received by 240 young people did not meet the standards which it should have, and it detailed significant harm to 46 children.

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