For those of you that don't know, Sharise's mother appeared on the Panorama programme 'Secret Emails' - It made me sad and angry that yet another victim had been hoodwinked by both GSK and the MHRA. How do these people sleep at night?
Anyway, the page is a fitting tribute to a youngster whose life was tragically cut short on the 25th May 2003.
Please take some time to pay a visit to the site... we owe it to ourselves.
Her site can be found here: http://www.sharisegatchell.com/
Being up here this evening, is to say the least, extremely difficult for me. At the same time, I'm immensely grateful for this opportunity.
We moved permanently from South Africa to the UK in 1999, seeking better opportunities and security for our son and daughter.
Sharise was a shy , somewhat introverted 14 year old and an amazingly talented artist.
On the 25th of May 2003, aged 18, she hanged herself from the loft hatch in our house.
We were away for the bankholiday weekend in Scotland. Sharise hated long car trips....
2 DAYS...2 DAYS later on the 27th of May, GSK FINALLY decided to hand over the required trial data to the MHRA, and 2 weeks later the announcement came that SSRI'S should no longer be prescribed to under 18's....
For Sharise it was just too little, too late... She took one Seroxat pill daily, for 17 days...
I'm urgently appealing to you to do the following:
Firstly, to totally ban Seroxat for use in especially new patients. It is obvious that GSK needs to go back to the drawing board....
Secondly, I'm asking, no begging you, NOT to allow GP's to prescribe mind altering drugs such as SSRI's?
They are simply NOT experienced enough to make accurate diagnoses of certain types of depresson, a crucial skill when prescribing SSRI's, and definitely NOT in the 10 minutes or so that they spend with patients... My very strong views come from personal experience.
Sharise was first prescribed Seroxat during a consultation with a specialist for delayed menstruation, aged 16... During the consultation she became emotional. The doctor asked her in my presence:
"Do you sometimes feel like ending it all?"
He still proceeded in prescribing Seroxat , already surrounded by controversy regarding self harm and suicide even then. A situation he , being in the medical profession should've been aware of?
I had complete faith in his judgement, had no prior knowledge of it, didn't know it wasn't licensed for use in children, and was re-assured that it wasn't addictive!
Sharise almost instantly underwent a major personality change. She was definitely less inhibited which helped with her social life, but she was also agitated, lost all interest in her school work, gained weight, had irregular sleeping patterns and seemed generally demotivated.
Gone was the almost obsessive regard she had for her health as a vegetarian. The change in her was obvious as she previously was an exteremly diligent pupil.
To my absolute horror I discovered that she was selfharming.... cutting her arms!!!!
NEVER, EVER before did she do anything selfdestructive !!
Desperately worried, I begged her to stop using Seroxat. It was obvious to me that it was having an incredibly negative effect on her. She reluctantly did ,shortly after...somehow she seemed to 'enjoy' the 'new' Sharise....
She was never the same again....
She felt awful again and saw a 2nd doctor who prescribed Cipramil after I explained the Seroxat ordeal and insisted that we tried something else. Apparently no notes of this very important conversation was made... A month later Sharise decided that it wasn't helping at all, and stopped taking it.
In desperation she discussed using Seroxat again...I was adamant that she should avoid it.
Being 18 and no longer needing my consent ,she asked the final doctor for it, and received...
She kept it secret from us, hiding the pills underneath her bed, where we discovered it after her death.
I feel DEEPLY let down by the medical profession....
I find it impossible to understand why, the final doctor did not ask a few basic, logical questions ie:
Why did you stop using Seroxat the first time?
Have you ever selfharmed?
Do you ever feel suicidal?
It is WRONG not to have notify parents or friends when someone starts using SSRI's...
How can an already unstable ,hormonal teenager be prescribed mind altering drugs and her family not be warned to look for danger signs?
It is common knowledge that the first few weeks on SSRI'S is the most dangerous time...
Her doctor made her follow -up appointment 3 weeks later! Again 2 days too late.....
Her doctor mentioned during the Inquest that she had no reason to suspect that Sharise was in a really bad state because she seemed chirpy! Prior to taking Seroxat she was depressed, but nothing like what followed.....Seroxat deepened her depression!
REASONS WHY GP'S SHOULD NOT PRESCRIBE SSRI's:
The many questions after Sharise's death lead me to correspond with a retired South African doctor , Dr. Tinus Uys, who tragically lost his 27 year old son , under similar circumstances....
His investigations lead to the discovery of Prof. Kay Redfield- Jamison's outstanding work:
"Night falls fast-understanding suicide"
Here are some of his conclusions:
Firstly, the age group cut-off point of 18 years in the use of SSRI's is absurd. Sharise's and his son's cases are fine examples.
It is NOT about age but about correct diagnoses.
Bipolar depression needs a totally different aproach, because here, SSRI'S can be highly dangerous.
Bipolar depression is more common than is recognized,and even found in toddlers. If you do not ask the right questions, you will miss it.
If Bipolar depression is treated with a SSRI, it can lead to the Switch- phenomenon and result in Mixed- Bipolar depression, the form described by the Prof. as among the most dangerous of psychopathological conditions.....
I'm convinced that this is what happened to Sharise....
NO PERSON suffering from Bipolar depression, should EVER be given SSRI'S, whether they are 15 or 44!!! Bipolar depression should be treated with mood stabilisers. Please note that SSRI'S such as EFEXOR is the most dangerous regarding this problem.
ALL this is existing knowledge which seems to be ignored world wide for some reason????
Allowing GP's to prescribe SSRI'S is simply irresponsible !
I applaud the MHRA for banning the use in children, and urge them NOT to make an exception of Prozac? The human brain is after all only fully developed in the early 20's !
Surely, it MUST be madness to bombard a child's growing brain with mind altering chemicals on a daily basis?
Two days before she died , Sharise woke up in an unusually good mood after spending about a week in the abyss. She said to me:" It's SO nice to feel good again! You know Mommy, I'm sure I'm a Manic- depressive, I'm either way up, or down." That day she went on a spending spree and even shoplifted! That very evening I was chased out of her room in a rage! The 2 weeks before her death she was extremely agitated. Days were spent in her room, comfort eating and not sleeping properly.
We left for Scotland feeling uneasy and suspicious.So much so, that we returned a day earlier than planned. She seemed what can best be described as 'void' and 'hostile'.
In a last e-mail to a friend she said that she as feeling terrible and like she was going crazy...
She meant every word... She left the empty Seroxat packet on her pillow next to her last note...She WANTED me to find it, WHY?
It is not a question of HOW Seroxat has affected our lives, but rather of how has it NOT???
Our lives have been TOTALLY... devastated by her loss
There is absolutely NO area that hasn't been affected. NOTHING is the same anymore... Not holidays or birthdays, Christmas.....nothing. We are constantly being tormented by the most horror-filled flashbacks of that awful, awful night....
And then... there is the unbearable pain of her permanent absence...... Her brother Warren, (who isn't religious) summed it up in a recent e-mail to me. He wrote:
"I so wish that there really was a Satan, so that I could sell my soul for a chat with Sharise..."
As for GSK and anyone who has ever aided them in spinning their web of deceit...their unscrupulous behaviour has been despicable !!!!
How they can look themselves and the families of those destroyed in the eyes is beyond me !!
Surely they must be parents themselves??? It is selfish human greed at it's lowest form....
How unimaginably wrenching ,to lose one's child because drug companies conceal the truth, so as not to impede profit maximization !!! GSK's reputation is tarnished beyond repair and they will have to pay dearly for their excessive greed....there where it hurts the most...in their pockets!!
Please restore my faith in mankind?
Please do what is right??
I really have no comment to make about this speech... my only hope is that those responsible will one day be tried in a court of law and punished