HomeHealth Care NewsMother Accused of Killing Children Was Overmedicated - Attorney

Mother Accused of Killing Children Was Overmedicated – Attorney

Was Lindsey Clancy overmedicated to the point of committing homicide and attempting suicide?

A woman accused of killing her three children before attempting suicide was prescribed 12 drugs that turned her into a “zombie,” according to her lawyer.

Lindsay Clancy and her husband complained to doctors about her mental state while she was being treated for post-partum depression, her attorney Kevin Reddington told the Boston Herald.

“It’s absolutely staggering. She had homicidal and suicidal ideations that she couldn’t control,” said Reddington.  “She was in a living hell and the husband did the best he could.”

Clancy, a nurse, is charged with strangling to death her three young children before jumping out of a second-story window of her Massachusetts home, while her husband was away for about 20 minutes, Reddington said

‘Mind Altering Pharmaceuticals’

Clancy had medical care and treatment on a regular basis and her husband was proactive in trying to get her help, Reddington told the Herald.

Clancy was prescribed several mood-altering drugs, including diazepam (Valium) and fluoxetine (Prozac), which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) used to treat depression.

The drug connection should be a first consideration for investigators, says Jane Orient, M.D., the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

 “Psychotropic drugs especially SSRIs, may have black-box suicide warnings and have been associated with unprecedented violent behavior and murder-suicides,” said Orient.

 Clancy was prescribed Klonopin (clonazepam), used for panic disorder; lamotrigine (Lamictal), a mood stabilizer; lorazepam (Ativan), and anti-anxiety drug; mirtazapine (Remoron), a tetracyclic antidepressant; quetiapine fumarate (Seroquel), used in treating psychotic disorders and schizophrenia; trazodone an antidepressant; and zolpidem (Ambien), used for insomnia.

‘Easy Way Out’

 Physicians should be leery of overprescribing drug treatments, says Marilyn Singleton, M.D., J.D.

“Drugs are an easy way out in the era of seven-minute patient visits,” said Singleton.

There are parallels between the use of mind-altering pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs today, and Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, wrote Singleton wrote in an article titled “Soma-tizing America.”

“The lockdowns proved how easily we can be manipulated to follow ridiculous orders,” Singleton told Health Care News. “There will be a whole generation that thinks drugs – legal and illegal are the answer to all their problems.”

Lockdowns ‘Exacerbated Social Isolation’

Social isolation is a likely major contributing factor to cases of extreme despair, says Robert S. Emmons, M.D., a private psychiatrist and clinical ethics advocate, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, which co-publishes Health Care News.

“The public health intervention of the past three years exacerbated social isolation, significant parts of it unnecessarily in my opinion, but the social isolation was already there in our culture,” said Emmons.

 Clancy’s isolation was treated with drugs as a consequence of poor public health care policy, says Emmons.

 “Certain types of public policy are set into motion with good intentions, but without deep thought about potential deleterious side effects,” said Emmons.  “When government intervenes in medicine, I see hubris, carelessness, ignorance, and a certain kind of intellectual and moral dishonesty that refuses to engage with critique in the service of ramming policy through. Unintended, bad consequences invariably result.”

‘Advised to Nurture’

The inability to get timely appointments with a health professional is also a problem, says Emmons.

“Third-party payment for medical care, whether it is corporate or taxpayer-funded, is organized in a way that exacerbates wait times for all kinds of medical care,” says Emmons. “I’m not sure the parties involved in extreme cases of despair would have sought psychiatric care on their own initiative prior to extreme events, but for people who do want psychiatric care, it’s a nightmare to get into treatment.”

The federal government’s expanding role in health care is what needs to change, says Emmons.

  “Because it seems unlikely that public policymakers will search their souls and mend their ways, I think the best we can do is stop looking to government to solve these problems,” said Emmons. “We are all well advised to nurture our social networks as an important part of maintaining well-being. No institution or organization is going to ride into the rescue and provide the resources we need to heal.”

AnneMarie Schieber (amschieber@heartland.org) is the managing editor of Health Care News.

For a related article, see New Studies Raise Questions about Treatments for Depression

AnneMarie Schieber
AnneMarie Schieber
AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform.


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