Teen involved in South Kerry Camhs controversy settles case for €92,500

Teen Involved In South Kerry Camhs Controversy Settles Case For €92,500
Counsel for the family called for further investigation into Camhs around the country. Photo: PA Images
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High Court reporters

A 15-year-old boy affected by the care he received at South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) has had a settlement of €92,500 approved by the High Court.

This is the first case brought before the High Court in relation to care offered by South Kerry Camhs.


It is understood a number of other cases involving children under 18 will be brought before the High Court in the coming months for approval of settlements reached after mediation under the State compensation scheme, which was set up last year after the controversy over the care provided at South Kerry Camhs was revealed.

Outside the Four Courts, the teenager’s solicitor called for a public inquiry into “all matters affecting the Camhs situation in Kerry and beyond”. Such an inquiry, he said, “should be without restrictions as to timelines or geography”.

He added: “This cannot be the end however, this scheme is only designed for children affected in the south Kerry region. We are aware of children in north Kerry and beyond the county that are also affected in similar manner.

“Rereview and redress should not be restricted to a geography or timeline.”


He said the family in this case are “happy that this chapter of their lives has now ended”.

”They’re happy with the mediation scheme and the way it worked.”

The mother of the boy in this case sent apologies to the court that she could not be present for the ruling of the settlement before Mr Justice Paul Coffey, as her son needs constant care.

Her counsel, David Sutton SC, told the High Court a non-statutory compensation scheme had been set up for those affected by care received at South Kerry Camhs, and the boy had been identified as a person affected by the “malpractice”.


He said it was very hard to value the case, but the settlement was for €87,500, and €10,000 had already been paid out to the family along with a further €5,000 to cover expenses.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said it was a novel application.

Behavioural difficulties

In the proceedings against the HSE, it was claimed the teenaged became a patient at South Kerry Camhs in 2013.

It was claimed that owing to treatment he was afforded while he was a patient with Camhs, and owing to the manner in which medication was prescribed and an alleged failure to adequately monitor the effects of the prescribed mediation, he suffered personal injuries.


He had been referred due to behavioural difficulties which had got worse since he started national school. An initial assessment was carried out in early 2014 and the Camhs assessment ruled out ADHD.

He was diagnosed as having attachment disorder with behavioural difficulties and an SNA was recommended for school.

Three years later, it was claimed that in a private assessment he was diagnosed as having ADHD with features of ASD, and he was started on the medication Ritalin.

He was referred to Camhs due to significant behavioural difficulties at school in December 2017. He was seen by a doctor, it was claimed, and the Ritalin was discontinued.


He was then started on another drug, which it is claimed is intended as a second line treatment for ADHD.

It was claimed that while he was under the care of that doctor, therapeutic input was limited to the prescribing of medication and with alleged inadequate monitoring of the medication side effects or therapeutic effect.

It was claimed that over a period of 16 months, the dosage of the new drug was increased to 5mg daily, which it was claimed is in excess of the recommended daily dose. It was also claimed there was no clear rationale for this increased dosage recorded in the clinical file.

Further medication

Treatment with other medications was started in January 2018 and over a period of two years was increased. Treatment with another medication began in April 2019 and increased in 2020.

The mother, it is claimed, did not believe the medications were having a beneficial effect and the child, it was reported, became more aggressive and began to lash out physically.

In January, a consultant child psychiatrist who examined the teenager said there was a significant delay in the diagnosis of ADHD being made.

Last year, a look back review of the care of 1,300 young people who attended the HSE run South Kerry Camhs over a four-year period took place.

It described the treatment of hundreds of children received from a doctor working in the service as “risky” and found proof of significant harm to 46 children. The care and treatment of 13 other children by other doctors was also deemed risky.

The report found no extreme or catastrophic harm was caused to patients.

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