Medical treatment

Lawsuits have been filed for the medical treatment of a mentally ill mother who killed children

Andrew McGinley and his wife Deirdre Morley, the mentally ill mother who killed their three children, have both brought medical negligence claims against the HSE in relation to her care.

The governors of St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin and a consultant psychiatrist are also named defendants in separate suits filed with the High Court on Wednesday.

The cases come eight months after Ms Morley, a pediatric nurse, was found not guilty of insanity charges in the murder of Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla McGinley (3) at their home in Newcastle, Co Dublin, in January . 24, 2020.

The lawsuits were brought after privately commissioned expert reports identified alleged failings in Ms Morley’s care.

Mr McGinley confirmed the issuance of the charges when contacted by the Irish Independent.

“It’s a process I would much rather not go through. I just want to understand why my children died,” he said.

After his wife’s trial ended, Mr McGinley raised a number of concerns and called for an urgent investigation into her diagnosis, treatment and medication.

Mr McGinley said the outcome of a preliminary review of his wife’s case by the HSE had not been made available to him.

He said his concerns about his wife’s care had only increased since he had access to her medical records last September. “I think anyone who attended the trial or saw these medical reports would have questions,” he said.

Among the issues he raised was the fact that his wife’s diagnosis before the tragedy was different from that at the time of her trial.

He believes that while his diagnosis at the time of the tragedy was questionable, so was his treatment and medication.

He also believes there have been occasions when his initial diagnosis should have been questioned.

Another issue is his belief that such were the warning signs observed during his wife’s treatment that they should have justified the breach of patient confidentiality to inform him of the extent of his illness.

“Confidentiality should have been breached. But someone chose not to,” he said.

Mr McGinley and his wife have two separate legal teams, but it is thought their cases could be running concurrently.

Keith Walsh Solicitors represents Ms. Morley, while Callan Tansey Solicitors represents Mr. McGinley.

“There are key changes that need to be made (to mental health care). I don’t know, maybe they won’t be returned until this case is heard,’ Mr McGinley said.

“I’m just frustrated. It has been two years since the children died and I see no discernible change to the way patients are treated for their mental health in Ireland.

“Many people have written to me since I spoke about family inclusion, that they were successful in obtaining consent from their loved ones to include them in their treatment plan. And yet they are still not included.

“I try not to be angry. I don’t want to be angry. I promised the kids that I wouldn’t get angry. But here I am two years without them and no closer to understanding why they died.

The HSE has not commented on the legal action. However, he said an independent review was “under way”.

Ms Morley trial heard she hid the full extent of her illness from those close to her, including her husband.

She had been on antidepressants for more than two years and had previously spent a short time at St Patrick’s in July 2019 after expressing suicidal thoughts.

In the two years before the murders, she attended her GP, Clondalkin mental health services, counselling, cognitive behavioral therapy and St Patrick’s Day.

The court heard that during this time she was prescribed at least five different antidepressants at various stages and that the diagnoses she received were less severe than those reached by consulting psychiatrists after the murders, when it was determined that she had sunk into delusion and psychosis.

Mrs. Morley convinced herself that her children had been damaged as a result of her mental illness and had no future.

She later expressed regret and remorse, but told Gardaí she couldn’t stop.