NewsCourts

73-year-old psychiatric patient stabbed and paralysed by schizophrenic man with kitchen knife

CourtsBy Sunday World
73-year-old psychiatric patient stabbed and paralysed by schizophrenic man with kitchen knife

A 73-year-old psychiatric patient was stabbed in the spine by a schizophrenic man armed with kitchen knife, while at the Health Service Executive-run psychiatric facility at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght.

The man who stabbed James McGrane on May 11, 2010, was also a patient at the facility.

The patient had purchased the knife he used in the attack in Argos at Tallaght Shopping Centre just hours before the attack.

Mr McGrane’s spinal cord was severed in the attack, which left him in a paraplegic state with limited movement in his arms and no feeling in his legs.

He died seven months later.

Mr McGrane told gardai in a statement after the incident that he was sitting on his bed waiting for his psychologist to arrive when he was suddenly attacked.

"I picked up my phone to check the time and the next thing I felt this awful thump into my back. I didn't realise I'd been stabbed, I just felt pain," he told gardaí.

Mr McGrane’s daughter Audry O’Farrell told an inquest into his death that the family had received no report, review or investigation findings from the HSE since the incident, almost five years ago.

"We feel very disappointed and let down by the HSE that they have never come to us and tried to give us any explanation. We don't want this to happen to anyone else," she said.

Psychiatric nurse Deirdre O'Sullivan, who was working on the ward that night when the perpetrator, known only as ‘patient A’ came running from the room he shared with Mr McGrane.

"Patient A ran out of Room 2 shouting he'd stabbed someone. He said this several times," Nurse O'Sullivan said.

"James was lying on his bed, with a knife in his back, he was groaning," she said.

Ms O’Sullivan then escorted Patient A to a secure room on the ward.

Garda Ciaran Loughrey of Tallaght Garda Station arrived at the scene to find Mr McGraine in his bed with a “large kitchen knife protruding from his neck/shoulder area".

Garda Loughrey arrested Patient A three days later but no trial took place.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that Patient A suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had recently been moved from a higher observation, locked unit within the same facility on the grounds of Tallaght Hospital.

The man’s condition had been improving and he was preparing for discharge.

Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy said the cause of death was principally due to heart disease and pneumonia with the stab wound as a contributory factor.

The knife injury had precipitated or accelerated Mr McGrane's heart problems, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.