|Professor Patricia Casey, Professor of Psychiatry, UCD and Nora Broderick, product manager psychiatry, Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd|
Irish lawyers, Brophy Solicitors, have sent a threatening letter to Leonie Fennell, the mother of Shane Clancy, who writes about her son's death and offers opinion as to why he died.
Shane was just 22 when he killed a young man before turning the knife on himself. The subsequent inquest found an open verdict, large traces of the SSRi antidepressant citalopram [Cipramil UK, Celexa US] were found in his system.
Irish psychiatrist Patricia Casey was present at the inquest representing and observing for Psychiatry Ireland and to ask questions if the need arose. Casey has come under fire from Fennell on a number of occasions, in particular her relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and fees, grants etc that she has received from them.
Casey was at Shane’s inquest and took issue with some aspects of it, according to Leonie, Casey has publicly stated that there is no evidence to suggest that antidepressants can cause suicide or homicide and she is also a member of psychiatry Ireland and has worked in association with Lundbeck, the manufacturers of citalopram.
The threatening letter from Brophy Solicitors carries an odd disclaimer at the footer, this, more than the threatening content, rather intrigued me.
The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this messages is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to message and deleting it from your computer.
I just love the use of the word 'may' here. It either is...or it isn't. It appears Brophy Solicitors are trying to stop Leonie Fennell from posting the letter or passing it on to third parties. Quite what disclosure they refer to is baffling as no court proceedings are in place to my knowledge.
What lands in my inbox becomes my property and I can do with it what I wish to do. I certainly wouldn't pay any attention by a law firm who represent a psychiatrist!
The content of the letter appears to be telling...not asking...Leonie to remove certain segments of a post she wrote about Patricia Casey.
Our client has instructed us in relation to comments appearing on your internet blog in which you repeat a statement that another lady made to you that “Patricia Casey ruined my son’s life”.
You also publish a letter on your blog to the Irish Medicines Board on 16th March 2011. As part of this letter you say “... as Patricia Casey has a long and I am sure lucrative association with Lundbeck ... you can take from that anything you want to”.
So, let's just get this straight. A blogger uses a quote from another person and then writes an opinion about Casey's association with Lundbeck. For that she is sent a threatening letter because Casey didn't like it?
I imagine writers across the blogsphere are shitting themselves!
I find it comical that a psychiatrist such as Casey wishes to suppress opinion, particularly when the whole field of psychiatry is based on opinion. The mere fact that Casey hands out antidepressants to children is based on opinion...unless of course Casey can provide evidence that shows her patients have a mental disorder? Blood tests, urine samples will suffice. Incidentally, SSRi antidepressants are not recommended for children in Ireland but they can be prescribed 'off-label' - in other words, if the doctor or psychiatrist are of the opinion that a child will benefit from them then they will prescribe them.
Leonie Fennell is right to question a psychiatrist who has links to the manufacturer of the drug that, she believes, killed her son. If she didn't question then what sort of mother would she be?
Brophy solicitors are making assumptions as far as I can ascertain.
"The implication in this second comment is that our client either knows or ought to know of what you describe in your blog as the potentially fatal side effects of certain antidepressants, and yet continues to prescribe these anti-depressants."
First off, it is Brophy Solicitors that have drawn that conclusion. If they feel that antidepressants do not pose a fatal reaction to young people then they are going against what medicine regulators around the world claim. The fact that their client, Patricia Casey, prescribes them should be in question, particularly when they are not recommended for Casey's younger patients. Visit the MHRA website HERE - I'll leave it to Brophy Solicitors to work their way around that particular labyrinth to find what they are looking for.
"The very clear implication here is that our client receives payments from drug companies and is quite happy to prescribe anti-depressants to individuals who should not take these drugs and who would be placed in danger if they did take these drugs."
Brophy Solicitors really need to do their homework. Children and adolescents ARE placed in danger when prescribed these drugs. It is on Casey's own behest [her opinion] that despite not being recommended she continues to prescribe after weighing up the risks versus benefits.
"The first comment – that our client ‘ruined’ someone’s life is even more serious and while it is entirely untrue and without foundation, it is clearly extremely damaging to our client."
This is a particular sticky issue and, as I understand, Leonie Fennell, has now removed that comment. It kind of runs against those programs you see such as Crimewatch where the victim is silhouetted and their voices are changed. They do so for protection. Fennell claims the woman who made that statement feared repercussions from Casey, hence the reason for leaving her name out.
Are Brophy Solicitors going to send out letters to all bloggers who have opinions about their client or who question their client's ties to the industry?
Leonie Fennell lost her son because he was prescribed an antidepressant on the opinion of a doctor. No blood samples were taken, no urine samples were taken, no MRI scan, PET scan or X-rays. It was the opinion of Shane's doctor that citalopram would help lift the blues he was feeling. Sadly it didn't and Shane took his own life. If these drugs worked then there would be no suicides. If they were so safe then regulators around the world would not have imposed restrictions on them...restrictions that Casey appears to ignore because she has her own opinions on these types of drugs.
Leonie has published the threatening letter in full and added her own opinion HERE
If either Casey or indeed Brophy Solicitors wish to debate the ethics of giving children and adolescents drugs that are not recommended for children and adolescents then I'm all ears. Feel free to leave a comment beneath this post. If the benefits outweigh the potential risks then please feel free to send me a detailed list of those benefits.
For the record I take umbrage to Casey making the following statement on the Irish Health Website:
“Around 50% of people do not have a trigger or risk factors for depressive illness”, she said. “The outcome for those who get treatment is very good. It is also important to be aware too that antidepressants are not addictive”.
Coincidental that Casey sings from the same hymn sheet as the manufacturers of antidepressants?
Perhaps Casey would like to tell the 10,000 or so paroxetine users that what they are experiencing is not addiction?
Maybe she should confront the 20,000+ Prozac sufferers who have posted online regarding Prozac's addictive qualities?
Or she could oppose the near 24,000 who have expressed their views regarding the SNRi Effexor online?
I could go on but then again I'm of the opinion that psychiatrists who don't speak out against psychiatric drugs have irrational and delusional traits - Just an opinion of mine I happen to hold.
Here's a classic reason why:
“Fidgeting and foot movements (known in our research setting as ‘Wender’s sign’) are very common signs of hyperactivity in adult ADHD patients – so much so that such patients can usually be diagnosed in the waiting room by a knowledgeable receptionist.” - Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Paul Wender [Paul H. Wender, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995, p. 20]
Professionalism at its very best.
In the meantime, stick in your headphones and listen to the mother of Shane Clancy pour her heart out in a recent podcast she did with me HERE.
Am I sticking up for Leonie Fennell because she did an interview with me? Nup, I'd stick up for any parent who was having their voices stifled by lawyers who have not done their homework with regard to the way their client's prescribe drugs to a generation, despite those drugs not being recommend by world-wide medicines regulators.
All of the above is my opinion, I'm sure many other bloggers will offer theirs over the course of the next week or so. I'm of the opinion that Casey has brought some rather unwanted attention on herself by using Solicitors to try and suppress the voice of a grieving mother.
Some bedtime reading for Brophy Solicitors - http://www.ssristories.com/ - Your opinion and Casey's too, on the stories featured, would be greatly appreciated, there's over 4,500 of them! If you disagree with the 4,500+ stories, I won't be sending you a threatening letter, it is, after all, just your opinion, however wrong you may be.
Podcast - Robert Whitaker on Today With Patricia Casey