This makes me sick.

24 03 2007

Girl’s Death stirs debate over psychiatric meds

HULL, Mass. – In the final months of Rebecca Riley’s life, a school nurse said the little girl was so weak she was like a “floppy doll.”

The preschool principal had to help Rebecca off the bus because the 4-year-old was shaking so badly.

And a pharmacist complained that Rebecca’s mother kept coming up with excuses for why her daughter needed more and more medication.
None of their concerns was enough to save Rebecca.

Rebecca — who had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity and bipolar disorder, or what used to be called manic depression — died Dec. 13 of an overdose of prescribed drugs, and her parents have been arrested on murder charges, accused of intentionally overmedicating their daughter to keep her quiet and out of their hair.

Interviews and a review of court documents by The Associated Press make it clear that many of those who were supposed to protect Rebecca — teachers, social workers, other professionals — suspected something was wrong, but never went quite far enough.

Troubling questions
But the tragic case is more than a story about one child. It raises troubling, larger questions about the state of child psychiatry, namely: Can children as young as Rebecca be accurately diagnosed with mental illnesses? Are rambunctious youngsters being medicated for their parents’ convenience? And should children so young be prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs meant for adults?

How does this even happen? Children should not be given such strong medications unless everyone (including psychiatrists,child psychologists, social workers, parents, etc) are 100% sure that they are necessary. Something like this should never ever happen to a little kid. She died in pain, and she was so damn little. Now I’m afraid there’ll be a backlash against psychiatry and people will stop taking their meds or refuse to take them because of this. This is so awful I can’t even find the right words to describe how outraged/upset/horrified I am.

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One response

15 05 2007
Courtney

wow this is crazy

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