July 28

3 Suicides:Antidepressants involved: Chess Prodigy,19; lawyer, 50; child, 11

Were the drugs to blame?

1. CNN reports:  Jessie Gilbert, 19 year old prodigy chess player plunged to her death from her hotel room in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
"organizers of the tournament believe she may have committed suicide."  
 "Although she left no note, medication for depression was found in her room."
 "Police were continuing to investigate the teenager’s death and reports that she had been taking medication for depression."

2. The U.K Observer reports (below) that 50 year old  Linda Bonich, a law partner in the U.K., and mother of three, "suffering from clinical depression and the pressures of work was found hanged in her garden, an inquest heard." She "had been taking medication for depression and had told her GP just two days before her death that she felt in a "dreadful state" and was unable to concentrate."
3. Bloomberg news reports: "Rachel Caddy–11 years old–hanged herself from a tree behind her apartment in Bountiful, Utah." She was prescribed the antidepressant Lexaro "for depression and defiance toward authority figures."  Her mother is suing the manufacturer, Forest Labs.

The suit is one of about 24 claiming that Lexapro or Celexa (another antidepressant made by Forest) caused patients to attempt or commit suicide.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
Chess prodigy death plunge mystery
PRAGUE, Czech Republic — A promising young woman British chess player taking part in a chess tournament in the Czech Republic has died after a mystery fall from her hotel room.
Jessie Gilbert, 19, fell Wednesday from the eighth floor of her hotel in the central city of Pardubice amid conflicting reports that she could had been sleepwalking and had suffered from depression.
Her family Friday paid tribute to the "much loved" and "exceptionally talented" teenager.

In a statement, her family said: "She was a titled chess player and had been competing in the Czech Open Chess Championships.
"Fellow British players in the tournament abandoned matches as a mark of respect. She was much loved and was an exceptionally talented chess player."
Police were continuing to investigate the teenager’s death amid reports that she had been taking medication for depression, the UK’s Press Association said.

Gilbert had been living with her parents, Ian and Angela, and sister, Samantha, in the village of Woldingham, Surrey. But her parents had recently divorced, sold the house and moved to separate properties, PA said.

While there have been suggestions that the teenager may have been sleep-walking, organizers of the tournament believe she may have committed suicide, PA said.
John Saunders, editor of British Chess Magazine, said he had been approached independently by "a number" of chess players who had spoken of a possible problem with sleep-walking, PA reported.

But Jan Mazuch, director of the Czech Open, said he believed she had jumped from the eighth-floor room.

Room empty

He told PA her 14-year-old room-mate, Amisha Parma, had first realized Miss Gilbert was missing when she woke to find her bed empty in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Police were called and found the body of the teenager in a tree below her hotel window.
Mazuch said: "She wasn’t in the room so they started to look for her and they realized she had jumped from the eighth floor."

Gilbert was taking a gap year to play chess while preparing to go to Oxford to University study medicine. She had been working towards becoming a Women’s International Master.

Described as one of England’s leading women players by the English Chess Federation Friday, she came to prominence at the age of 12 when she won the Women’s World Amateur Championship, the youngest player ever to do so, the ECF told PA.

First taking up the game at the age of eight, Gilbert had been involved in coaching younger players at the newly formed Andrew Martin Chess Academy.

After representing England in the European Individual Women’s Championships in Turkey in April, she was also part of the national women’s team in the chess Olympiads in Turin in May and June of this year.

The ECF said: "Her friendly personality endeared her to all ages in the chess community and she will be much missed."



Work stress contributed to death of popular solicitor
A SOLICITOR from Bishop’s Stortford suffering from clinical depression and the pressures of work was found hanged in her garden, an inquest heard.

Mum-of-three Linda Bonich, a partner at Pothecary and Barratt in the town, was found slumped in her pyjamas at the base of a tree at home in Hadham Road in November. A blue rope was tied around her neck.

The 50-year-old had been taking medication for depression and had told her GP just two days before her death that she felt in a "dreadful state" and was unable to concentrate.

A hearing at Hatfield on Tuesday, which was attended by Mrs Bonich’s husband, Lorens, heard that she was struggling to cope at work and felt under pressure because of mistakes she had made due to her lack of concentration.

Mrs Bonich, who joined the firm in White Horse Court in 1987, was responsible for residential sales and purchases.

In a submitted statement, her colleague and fellow partner Angela Lever described Mrs Bonich as a "friendly, outgoing and sociable" woman, although she said she had noticed a change in her in the months leading up to her death.

Despite being reassured that the firm had no concerns about her work, she had become quiet and withdrawn and appeared unhappy and distant, she added.

Recording an open verdict, coroner Edward Thomas said he could not be certain Mrs Bonich, who leaves three teenage children, Edmund, Gabrielle and Nicola, had intended to take her own life as no suicide note had been found and she had no history of suicidal thoughts.

He said she was clearly a "very responsible person" and her worries over her work would have been exacerbated by her state of mind.

"She was obviously a very popular lady who was well thought of in every way," he said.

"Her death is an awful tragedy and I feel very sorry for what her family, and colleagues, have been through."

When approached by the Observer afterwards, Mr Bonich said he was too upset to speak.


New Jersey Business Briefs
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Forest Laboratories Inc. was sued by a Utah woman who blames the suicide of her 11-year-old daughter on the company’s antidepressant Lexapro.

Rachel Caddy hanged herself from a tree behind her apartment in Bountiful, Utah, on July 22, 2004, after taking Lexapro for several weeks for depression and defiance toward authority figures, according to a federal lawsuit filed Friday in Newark.

The suit is one of about 24 claiming that Lexapro or Celexa, another antidepressant made by Forest, caused patients to attempt or commit suicide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered drug makers in 2004 to warn users of increased suicidal behavior by children who take antidepressants. Charles Triano, a spokesman for New York-based Forest, didn’t immediately return phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

— Bloomberg News

Copyright © 2006 North Jersey Media Group Inc.

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