A couple have gone to the High Court in a bid to get answers and have an independent report commissioned by the HSE into the care and treatment of their son before he died by suicide released.
A mental health service has already unreservedly apologised for the standard of care given to student Jamie Costello as his family 15 months ago settled a High Court action against the HSE over his death.
Jamie Costello, 25, from Cornadulla, Co Galway, was taken from the water at the Cliffs of Moher on October 1, 2019.
At the time of his death, he was a voluntary patient at the Acute Mental Health Unit at University Hospital Galway but was only supposed to leave the unit in the company of his family or occupational therapists.
It was claimed in those proceedings that Mr Costello, who had complex mental problems, had been granted unsupervised leave when it was allegedly known he was a suicide risk.
On September 30, 2019, Mr Costello left the unit on his own for an hour, which it was claimed was contrary to the instructions of his consultant psychiatrist.
The next day, he again left the unit and it was claimed there was no satisfactory explanation of how he was able to leave the unit on consecutive days without the agreement of his clinician.
It was claimed the care provided to Mr Costello on September 30 and October 1, 2019, was of an unacceptable standard.
His parents, Dr Alan Costello and Denise Costello, have now applied to the High Court for leave to bring a legal challenge in their bid to get the finalised external review report into Jamie’s care and treatment, which was commissioned three years ago, released.
Their counsel, Eoin Carolan SC instructed by Damien Tansey solicitor, told the High Court on Monday his side had very serious concerns about a desktop review now being proposed.
Mr Justice Charles Meenan, who adjourned the matter until mid-April for mention, said he wanted a substantive response from the HSE by then.
In their judicial review proceedings, they are seeking an order compelling the HSE to make available to the Costellos the final report. They are also seeking declarations that they are entitled to receive the report and that an alleged refusal to commit to releasing the final report constitutes a breach of fundamental fairness.
In her grounding affidavit, Jamie’s mother Denise Costello said on February 22 this year they were told the system analysis review report had not been accepted by the Serious Incident Management Review team and a desktop review, which would identify any further actions that may mitigate against the recurrence of the tragic events of October 1, 2019, would be commissioned.
The recommendations of the desktop review, it said, would be shared with the Costellos.
Mrs Costello said she and her husband were “devastated to learn this unexpected news regarding the apparent abandonment of the independent review process".
“It adds to the already unacceptable levels of delay we have been experiencing in receiving answers about our son’s death,” she said, adding they were also shocked by the lack of information provided as to the reason for the change of direction.
“It is particularly hurtful we have not been provided with the basic courtesy of clear information about a process in which we are so invested and for which we have waited so long,” she added.
The case will come back before the court on April 17 next.