Settlement of €73,500 for teenager who sued over treatment at south Kerry CAMHS

Boy, now aged 15, was 11 when he was prescribed Risperidone for ADHD

A teenager who was put on medication, including an antipsychotic drug, by south Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) when he was aged 11 has settled a High Court action for €73,500.

The mother of the boy, who is now aged 15, said in an affidavit she did not want her son to be prescribed medication when he was seen by the south Kerry service but she was told it was going to “fix everything”.

The woman said that in an April 2019 consultation, a few months after her son had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), she was told the medication would make him better and “people are in prison because they were not medicated”.

She said the comment “lives with me to this day”.


Senior counsel for the boy, Tony McGillicuddy, with Ruaidhrí Giblin, told the court the mother “felt emotionally blackmailed” by the comment.

Counsel said the boy was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Risperidone from May 2019 to November 2020. Counsel said Risperidone is not the first line of treatment for ADHD and should only be used when other treatments are not working.

Counsel said part of the case was that the mother was given inappropriate information during the April 2019 consultation with south Kerry CAMHS.

Counsel said Risperidone acts as a sedative and the boy found it difficult to attend school, get out of bed at times and was unable to play soccer. There was also weight gain. Once the medication was discontinued, counsel said, it was reported the boy was able to return to a more normal life.

The effects of the sedation, counsel said, saw the boy withdraw from his family and socially when he was at a very tender age.

In her affidavit, the mother said her son was referred to south Kerry CAMHS in January 2016 when he was nearly eight years of age due to concerns raised by his teacher regarding possible ADHD.

Referring to the April 2019 consultation with CAMHS after his diagnosis, she said she felt pressurised into giving her son the medications, “exposing him to adverse effects which were not controlled, monitored, supervised or reviewed properly or at all”.

She said her son was prescribed Risperidone from May 2019 to November 2020. The sedation he experienced, she said, affected him both at school and at home which significantly increased in severity when the Risperidone was increased to three times a day in February 2020.

She said that despite numerous adverse effects, her son’s “flawed treatment” continued until the Risperidone was discontinued in November 2020.

A year later, she said, she was invited to a meeting with senior Health Service Executive (HSE) managers who, she said, apologised “for deficits in the standard of my son’s care”.

This, she said, included inappropriate prescribing of Risperidone without a clear rationale identified; poor treatment quality due to inadequate metabolic workup; and that he may have been sedated while at school.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey recently approved the settlement and said it was fair and reasonable.

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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