Medical card withdrawn before man’s suicide

A coroner has urged the family of a suicide victim to contact the HSE and find out why his medical card had been stopped.

An inquest into the death of student Conor Cribben, 25, heard that he had been feeling down in the days before he took his own life at the family home in Cloonacauneen, Galway.

He had suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

His medical card had been stopped in the period leading up to his suicide and he had found out that he had failed to secure a college grant.

His sister, Ailish Cribben, told the inquest at the weekend that Conor had been among a group of family and friends celebrating their sister Rosin’s 21st birthday on the night of March 22.

A number of friends had been staying at the family home on the outskirts of Galway City and everybody had gone to bed late.

She had last seen Conor walking towards the back door, and presumed he was going out for a smoke or to see to the dog. In the morning, she was woken by someone screaming and a friend told her that Conor was dead.

His father Seamus, in a deposition read to the inquest, said he had got up at 8.40am on the day after the birthday party and noticed that the dog was in the front room, which was unusual. He wondered where Conor was and presumed he was in the shed.

He discovered his son’s body in the shed shortly afterwards.

Mr Cribben said he knew that Conor was in low spirits in the days beforehand. “He couldn’t get his medication for his ADHD,” said Mr Cribben.

A text message Conor sent to his parents at 4.32am on the morning he died said he loved them and that he was sorry for everything.

After hearing that the cause of death was asphyxia, West Galway Coroner Ciaran MacLoughlin told his family the tragedy indicated how difficult it was to know such an event was going to happen.

“One of the sad realities is that it is so unpredictable. What makes people do it, you never know,” said Dr MacLoughlin, adding that he did not know if the issue of Conor’s medical card played a part in what had happened but it was “certainly something” that should be looked into.

“Those drugs are quite expensive and it may have been enough to create a situation that he could not handle. This may be one of the consequences of austerity,” he said.

Urging the family to investigate why the medical card had been cancelled, the coroner suggested that their inquiries may assist others in a similar situation in the future.


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