Relatives critical of HSE as inquest hears Kerry man died by suicide shortly after hospital discharge

Relatives critical of HSE as inquest hears Kerry man died by suicide shortly after hospital discharge
John Broderick, whose inquest was heard in Mallow

THE family of a man who died by suicide after going to work at a Cork factory have accused the Health Service Executive of airbrushing in a report on his engagement with the HSE the day before his death.

John Broderick from Killarney in Kerry took his own life after going to work as a sub-contractor, at Munster Joinery in Ballydesmond on August 28, 2018. An inquest into his death was closed yesterday in Mallow, where a verdict of death by suicide was delivered.

The inquest heard that 35-year-old Mr Broderick’s death came two days after an episode of self-harm, and a day after he and his wife Sandra had gone to the emergency department of University Hospital Kerry in Tralee, where he was seen by the duty psychiatrist.

The inquest had been adjourned by north Cork coroner Dr Michael Kennedy last October so that he could write to the hospital for a report on Mr Broderick’s visit to the emergency department. In correspondence from the hospital, Dr Kennedy was told that Mr Broderick had self-harmed on August 26, 2018, and was described as being very upset with a low mood when seen at the emergency department the following day.

The letter added that Mr Broderick had assured the medical team that while he had a “passive death wish”, he didn’t have an active suicide plan.

He agreed to participate in a treatment plan and he wished to return to work the following day, which the team thought was a positive sign.

However, the inquest heard that on the following morning at 11am, the crisis nurse tried calling Mr Broderick but could not reach him. He had died by suicide two hours earlier.

The letter to Dr Kennedy added that all steps were taken to help Mr Broderick and stated that he did not meet the criteria to be admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act.

The letter also said: “I cannot see how this tragic death could have been prevented by any action by us.” The correspondence concluded that Mr Broderick may not have disclosed the full details of his condition.

At the end of the inquest, the solicitor representing Sandra Broderick, Eimear Griffin, said: “We are not entirely satisfied with the report of the HSE. There is airbrushing of the evidence.” And she said the family was disappointed that there was no representative from the HSE at the inquest, adding: “It is totally unacceptable.” 

She stressed that Sandra Broderick’s motivation in “pursuing this matter” is to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Earlier in the hearing, Dr Kennedy said correspondence had also been received from Malone Hegarty Solicitors on behalf of Munster Joinery. The letter said the company had an anti-bullying policy and that neither Munster Joinery nor the company that directly employed him as a sub-contractor had received any report of bullying involving John Broderick.

The letter said a critical incident response centre was organised by Munster Joinery for employees following the death of Mr Broderick.

Concluding the inquest, Dr Kennedy told Sandra Broderick that her evidence on the opening day of the inquest last October had been harrowing and said she had done everything she could to help her husband.

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