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Sinn Féin publish ‘Jake’s Amendment’ Bill to provide for verdicts of Iatrogenic Suicide by a Coroner – Mac Lochlainn

16 July, 2015 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin TD Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has today published a bill, to be known as ‘Jake’s Amendment’, to amend the Coroner’s Act 1962 to allow for a Coroner to return a verdict of iatrogenic suicide.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Mac Lochlainn outlined the background to the Bill and paid tribute to the parents of Jake McGill Lynch who have campaigned vigorously for a change in the law.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“On the 20th March 2013, 14 year old Jake McGill Lynch, shortly after being prescribed the antidepressant – Prozac, ended his own life using a firearm. Jake, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, was given the antidepressant drug, despite research stating that the drug has no benefit for children with Asperger’s and despite the emerging evidence of harm.

“In the midst of their grief, Jake’s parents have come to understand that their personal tragedy is one that has been shared by thousands of families whose loved ones have died as a result of antidepressant-induced suicide.

“I welcome Jake’s parents, John and Stephanie, to the public gallery today. They have worked tirelessly to bring attention to this issue and to campaign for a change to the law.

“Their request is simple. They want the Coroner’s Act to be amended so that a Coroner can return a verdict of iatrogenic, medically induced suicide where such is the case.

“It is an issue that must be highlighted. A verdict of Suicide, returned in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 1962, must be differentiated from a verdict of Iatrogenic Suicide. Iatrogenic Suicide is the ending of one’s own life where the effect of medical treatment undertaken by the deceased, including any prescribed medication, is the primary cause of such an action.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said that they understood that the publishing of the Bill was symbolic.

“It is obvious that the Coroners Act of 1962 is no longer fit for purpose and should be repealed and replaced with an amended version of the Coroners Bill 2007 as a matter of priority. In the amended version of the 2007 Bill, there should be a comprehensive list of verdicts open for a Coroner or a jury as the case may be, to return. This list should, when it is finally amended, contain provision for a verdict of “Iatrogenic Suicide” to be made.”

“I hope that the Government will support this Bill.” 

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