Man with movement disorder settles case against Kerry hospital for €1.2m

A man who was prescribed an antipsychotic drug and later developed a movement disorder has settled a High Court action for €1.2 million.   

Terence O’Sullivan had sued over his treatment at Kerry General Hospital after he was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Risperidone.

In the High Court on Tuesday, his counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC said Mr O’Sullivan now has a very serious movement disorder and has to use a wheelchair. Counsel said it was their case that there was an alleged failure to recognise the mobility issue as a possible side-effect of the drug.

The settlement is without an admission of liability.

Terence O’Sullivan (43), Steelroe, Killorglin, Co. Kerry had through his mother Helen O’Sullivan sued the HSE over his treatment at Kerry General Hospital, Tralee.

Terence O’Sullivan’s claims

Mr O’Sullivan had attended the Kerry hospital in 2000 as he had begun to experience physical and psychological problems.

The drug Risperidone was prescribed. He took the drug morning and evening, but it is claimed it allegedly contributed to him developing extremely serious physical symptoms and infirmities.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to advise Mr O’Sullivan of the risks and potential side-effects of taking Risperidone and an alleged failure to monitor the patient either adequately or at all for signs of adverse effects of the drug.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to take Mr O’Sullivan off the drug either in time or at all and an alleged failure to review his condition and the prescribed medication at regular intervals.

All the claims were denied.


In November 2002, Mr O’Sullivan began to feel unwell, and he reduced the intake of the drug himself. He has claimed when this was discovered he was advised to continue taking the drug as originally prescribed.

Gradually between 2000 and 2007, Mr O’Sullivan’s gait and posture deteriorated especially on his left side and in early 2005 he began to experience severe and involuntary twitching in his eyes.

He also developed a drooped posture and back pain and his ability to walk became affected.

It was claimed that at a general conference of a number of his medics in July 2007 it was generally agreed the cause of Mr O’Sullivan’s symptoms appeared to be the drug.

He was taken off the drug and it is claimed his physical symptoms improved but within a few months he was suffering other physical symptoms such as fever and uncontrollable movements of his face and body.

Six years ago, there was a further deterioration in Mr O’Sullivan’s walking ability and he now uses a wheelchair outside his home.

Counsel told the court the O’Sullivan family were satisfied with the settlement.

Approving the €1.225m settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross noted the issues in relation to liability in causation in the case and said it was a very good settlement in the circumstances. He wished the O’Sullivans all the best.

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