The widow of a pensioner brutally killed by a schizophrenic yesterday said the "experts" who discharged her husband's killer from a mental hospital were as much to blame as the killer himself. A tearful Enid Dodd said Paul Khan should never be released.
She was speaking at a press conference after Khan was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing Brian Dodd in March this year. Mr Dodd was walking his dog at a car park in Prestatyn, North Wales when he was attacked by Khan and stabbed more than 30 times in the head, leaving him unrecognisable to his wife. Mrs Dodd blamed her husband's death on the tribunal that set Khan free.
She said, "If any of these so-called expert committees ever think of letting this man or anyone like him out on the street again, they should seriously think about what happened last time. If it wasn't for them, my beautiful husband would be alive today and I wouldn't have to live the rest of my life alone. Every morning and every night before I go to sleep I think how my husband was killed. I shall have to live with that for the rest of my life. This was a crime that could have been prevented. The people who agreed to discharge him are as much to blame as Paul Khan."
Friday, October 31, 2003
The widow of a pensioner brutally killed by a schizophrenic yesterday said the "experts" who discharged her husband's killer from a mental hospital were as much to blame as the killer himself. A tearful Enid Dodd said Paul Khan should never be released.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Joanne Mallon, 40, was an employee at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center at the time of her arrest, has been charged with neglecting an 87-year-old Bayside [New York] woman under her care, leaving the Alzheimer’s victim in her own filth and her house in foul condition, according to the Queens DA’s office.
Mallon was arrested Aug. 22 and arraigned Oct. 13 on a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of an incompetent person, said a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Mallon faces up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted, the DA spokeswoman said.
According to the district attorney’s criminal complaint, police responded to the home of the elderly woman on 56th Avenue and 214th Street Aug. 22 and found her house “in utter disarray, clothing piled throughout the residence from floor to ceiling, filth, stench and spoiled food.” The elderly woman, whom neighbors and friends identified as former St. Robert Bellarmine teacher Mary Rose Johnson, was found covered in feces, according to the complaint.
Mallon’s attorney, Maura Nicolosi, said she had worked for Johnson for several years. Nicolosi said the charges against her client would probably be dropped. “There is no medical proof to substantiate the claim that she was neglected,” the lawyer said.
A former Maine psychologist is going to jail for 30 days for having sex with a patient he was treating. Forrest Sherman, 54, of Rockport, was sentenced by Superior Court Justice John Atwood to two years in jail with all but 30 days suspended. He also was ordered to serve two years of probation. Sherman had pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual assault for having sex with an adult patient. The victim said they had a sexual relationship between 1995 and 1997 in Sherman´s Rockport office and at his home. State law, citing the vulnerability of people seeking care from mental health professionals, stipulates that a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed social worker can be charged for having sex with a patient. Sherman said in a state police affidavit that he had sex with the woman, who was 43 at the time, and that he received Medicaid reimbursements for the woman´s therapy visits. The victim won a settlement in a civil court case against Sherman.
According to an expert who testified Wednesday at a disciplinary hearing in Billings, Montana, psychologist Constance Reynolds not only broke laws and fundamental ethical guidelines, she put her clients' lives at risk by drawing them into a web of sexual and business relationships, according to an expert who testified Wednesday at a disciplinary hearing in Billings. The allegations against Reynolds include everything from having a sexual relationship with a client to buying a house from another client. The state wants to strip Reynolds of her license.
State administrative law judge Greg Hanchett is hearing evidence on the case this week. Despite objections from Reynolds' attorney, Hanchett kept the hearing open to the public. Following the hearing, he will issue a finding of fact, which will then be considered by the State Board of Psychology. The board has the ultimate power to revoke Reynolds' license and issue fines. Reynolds, who holds a doctoral degree, continues to operate her practice, Lifeworks, at 145 Grand Ave.
Many more details on this horror story at the link.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
In Terre Haute, at Indiana State University, there are questions about a now defunct sex research lab run by former professor and psychologist Jerome Cerny. The Indiana Attorney General has suspended his license. "We felt that Dr. Cerny represented a clear and immediate danger to the public heath and safety become of the sexual allegations levied against him," said Deputy Indiana Attorney General Barclay Wong.
Professor Cerny was studying human sexual response in his male students but, according to civil lawsuits and state investigators, he stepped way over the line. He basically abuses his role as a supervisor and researcher towards these students," said Wong."The allegations are of both a physical and verbal nature." He allegedly touched the genitals of student subjects as he attached them to diagnostic machines. Even unwanted touching and grabbing in the hallways.
According to Wong, most of the people that Dr. Cerny molested were not official research participants. No consent forms had been signed. Cerny left Indiana State last year. He and the university now face civil suits.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
As seen in these reports
The psychologist for a suburban school district has submitted his resignation following an uproar over a graphic image he showed during a presentation to a school training session in August. Psychologist Dan Pezzulo said the image of male genitalia, which also featured the superimposed head of Osama bin Laden, was intended to lighten the mood during a training session on confidentiality for about 350 teachers and administrators.
There were some snickers during the Aug. 21 presentation at the Gateway School District, but a number of teachers and members of the Family-Teacher Association said they were appalled. Pezzulo, who provided testing and counseling for kindergarten through 12th grade students, has been on unpaid leave since the incident. The school board will vote on his resignation Wednesday.
Pezzulo also has a private practice and has hosted a segment on a local cable television channel called "Tips From Dr. Dan." The segments featured messages to youths such as "Never Take a Guilt Trip Again."
"Never Take a Guilt Trip Again." [???] sounds like an under-developed sense of social responsibility to me. Another more detailed report here
Saturday, October 25, 2003
The New York TimeS (free reg required) has an excellent extended article on the efforts of psychiatrists and brain scientists to help marketers control your shopping impulses for fun and profit. They are using MRIs and every other tool to try to figure out how to make products more compulsively irresistable to the average consumer.
For all their admirable successes, neuroscientists do not yet have an agreed-upon map of the brain. ''I keep joking that I could do this Gucci shoes study, where I'd show people shoes I think are beautiful, and see whether women like them,'' says Elizabeth Phelps, a professor of psychology at New York University. ''And I'll see activity in the brain. I definitely will. But it's not like I've found 'the shoe center of the brain.'''
James Twitchell, a professor of advertising at the University of Florida, wonders whether neuromarketing isn't just the next stage of scientific pretense on the part of the advertising industry. ''Remember, you have to ask the client for millions, millions of dollars,'' he says. ''So you have to say: 'Trust me. We have data. We've done these neurotests. Go with us, we know what we're doing.''' Twitchell recently attended an advertising conference where a marketer discussed neuromarketing. The entire room sat in awe as the speaker suggested that neuroscience will finally crack open the mind of the shopper. ''A lot of it is just garbage,'' he says, ''but the garbage is so powerful.''
Doesn't stop them from trying
Friday, October 24, 2003
A new study has linked anti-depressants to 41 deaths as use of the drugs soars to record highs. Of the 200 poisoning deaths in New Zealand in 2001, antidepressants were involved in 41 cases and caused 23 deaths, a Dunedin Medical School study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal found. Study co-author and National Poisons Centre medical toxicologist John Fountain said drug overdose was the suspected cause in most of the 23 deaths attributed to antidepressants. The drugs were potent and had nasty effects on the heart if taken in overdose, Mr Fountain said.
In 2001, there were more than 1.5 million prescriptions for antidepressants in New Zealand – enough to treat about 100,000 patients for one year, or 3 per cent of the total population. Latest Pharmac figures show antidepressant use has more than doubled during the past decade, from 360,000 prescriptions for an estimated 90,000 users in 1993 to 740,000 prescriptions in the year to June, for an estimated 187,000 users.
While there was some recognition antidepressants could be associated with suicide, this had never before been quantified, Mr Fountain said.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Youth Empire Services in Illinois is under investigation for inappropriately billing child psychiatric services billed under the medicaid ID numbers of psychiatrists working for them. Most of the children served by YES are wards of the state. The agency provides support for foster parents and children, including psychiatric and psychological counseling. "Probably half the people on here, I've never seen, I've never met, I've never heard of," said one psychiatrist, referring to the list of alleged patients.
Extensive report at the link.
As reported on KCTV5 news:
A doctor who admitted prescribing drugs illegally will spend five years in prison without parole. Bruce N. Parsa, 40, an osteopathic psychiatrist from suburban Leawood, pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiracy to distribute several prescription drugs. In June he pleaded guilty to four counts of using a revoked registration number to obtain drugs. U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren said Parsa was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Van Bebber, who also ordered three years of probation after Parsa gets out of prison.
At the plea hearing Parsa admitted that between January 2000 and mid-December 2001, while working as a psychiatrist in Leawood and Leavenworth, he conspired with others to dispense a large quantity of amphetamines and narcotics. He also admitted issuing more than 200 prescriptions "outside the score of his professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose," some of them for his own use. Parsa's wife, Angela J. Parsa, also 40, was sentenced last month to three years of probation and fined $1,000. In July she pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining a fraudulent prescription.
Cosmo Cerrigone, barber to James Treffinger, was ordered yesterday to repay New Jersey's Essex County $57,000 for haircuts he never gave in a government job he rarely showed up for. Treffinger was sentenced last week to 13 months in prison on fraud and obstruction charges related to the investigation.
For nearly seven years, Cosmo Cerrigone, a popular 56-year-old Cedar Grove stylist, accepted a county salary that ranged as high as $17,000 to cut hair for psychiatric patients at the Essex County Hospital Center. The hospital is two miles from Vie Veneto, a men's salon where Cerrigone and his brother have wielded scissors, clippers and blow dryers for decades.
But Cerrigone rarely reported to the hospital. When confronted by the FBI in April 2002, he told agents the phantom job was a reward after he "agreed to use his substantial contacts in the community to secure votes for Treffinger," according to a presentencing memo prepared by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry Carbone and Nelson Thayer.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
For three yeas a hospital ignored a flood of complaints and concerns about Dr Andrew Holton who misdiagnosed more than 600 children with epilepsy, an inquiry by Britain's Department of Health has found. During that time. Doctor Holton continued to diagnose children with epilepsy who did not have it and administer powerful and unnecessary drugs, the effect of which will leave permanent damage in some cases. Administrative records at the hospital were chaotic and there was no formal record of Dr Holton's training, allowing him to promote himself and be accepted as a paediatric neurologist even though he was not.
Nuerologists are not psychiatrists, but some come close enough to deserve scrutiny.
Monday, October 20, 2003
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They have an extensive collection of web pages giving information on the various side effects. Including, of course, psychiatric problems
Sunday, October 19, 2003
Reports of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in pediatric patients receiving antidepressants for major depressive disorder will be discussed at a Feb. 2, 2004 joint meeting of FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and the Pediatric Subcommittee of the Anti-Infective Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee will review the reports of suicidality from clinical trials of antidepressants and consider optimal approaches to analysis of the data. The group will also consider what regulatory action may be needed for clinical use of these products in pediatric patients and what further research is needed to address questions on the topic.
Interesting review in the Globe and Mail of the book Let Them Eat Prozac by By David Healy:
Before Prozac, few people risked getting depression. Now, it seems, we are all at risk. Better pay close attention, then, to David Healy's wonderfully perspicuous account of how a treatment can manufacture disease.
Of course, depression has always been with us, and Healy presents some moving stories of how this disease can blight the lives of those affected. The great boom in depressive illness, however, dates back only to the discovery and marketing of Prozac.
Prior to the 1990s, comparatively few people were thought to suffer from depression: perhaps one person in 10,000. With the discovery of the Prozac family of drugs there came, not coincidentally, an explosive increase in diagnoses of depressive illness.
Current estimates claim that one in 10 of the population is clinically depressed. A thousand-fold increase. In barely a decade, depression has gone from being a rare disorder to being classed as one of the greatest afflictions of humankind -- requiring that millions of comparatively healthy people be treated with powerful medication.
An old cliche jumps irresistibly to mind: To the man with a hammer in his hand, everything looks like a nail.
As the reviewer says:
There may be only 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are at least 150 ways to design drug experiments so that they are skewed in favour of the sponsoring company's products. From my own research on the ethics of clinical trials, I thought I knew all the tricks of the trade. I was mistaken. Healy has taught me some new ones.
Want to eliminate evidence of dangerous side effects from your new anti-depressant? [...] when volunteers enrolled in the experiment become agitated (and potentially suicidal or violent), code them as "failing to respond to treatment." Amazingly, by this simple sleight of hand, the alarming side effects disappear. What isn't recorded doesn't exist.
How much Prozac is too much?
Researchers at Baylor University have found traces of the pharmaceutical antidepressant in the livers, muscles and brains of game fish in a Denton County [Texas] creek, raising concerns about the welfare of the popular sports fish and people who eat them. The chemical is fluoxetine -- the primary component in Prozac. It likely came from a city of Denton wastewater treatment plant, which discharges into Pecan Creek and flows into Lake Lewisville in North Texas. Traces of the drug that are not absorbed into the body can flow down the toilet and through wastewater treatment plants, which are not designed to filter out pharmaceuticals.
This latest research comes on the heels of similar recent studies involving other drugs in the water. Research, for example, found that some male fish in Denton County are developing female characteristics because estrogen from prescription drugs is winding up in the water. The estrogen -- from birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy and other sources -- could reduce the fish population by rendering some males unable to breed.
So much is being prescribed that it is showing up in the wildlife? talk about pollution ...
Friday, October 17, 2003
Mental Disability Rights International [MDRI] is a non-governmental advocacy organization working for the international recognition and enforcement of the rights of people with mental disabilities.
As noted in this story on the increasing use of video journalism, a film co-produced with Witness, a group that has placed video cameras in the hands of human rights groups, recently led to the closure of several abusive psychiatric hospitals in Mexico.
They have a number of excellent publications available online
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Dr. Bennett Braun, a psychiatrist who was disciplined in Illinois has resumed his medical practice in Helena, Montana. Dr. Braun was disciplined for allegedly using drugs and hypnosis to convince a family it was involved in satanic and cannibalistic cults.
He said two years ago that he was fed up with his profession and would not return to it, but has since received his state physician's license in June and began soliciting patients Oct. 1st. The former Chicago-area doctor agreed to a two-year suspension of his medical license in October 1999 and five years probation after accusations by a former patient.
The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation filed a nine-count complaint against Braun that led to his license suspension. The complaint accused him of "dishonorable, unethical and unprofessional conduct." Braun said he didn't contest his license suspension and $5,000 fine because he was exhausted financially, emotionally and physically. He said he spent about $500,000 to initially fight the disciplinary case.
His malpractice insurer agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement, and Braun has sued the company for $20 million, saying the deal was struck over his objections and in violation of his policy. Howard Brinton, Braun's attorney, said the case is before an Illinois appellate court.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
As one doctor explained it: "People who've always had group health insurance are completely unprepared when they're forced to seek coverage in this (individual health insurance) market. They think they're going to get the same coverage they had in their jobs, except they'll just have to pay a little more money. It's absolutely not like that at all. The individual health insurance market is unpredictable, inconsistent and expensive."
An extensive article detailing the problems of individual health insurance. The costs for insurance for a fictional individual patient was all over the map.
Monday, October 13, 2003
A woman jailed for eight years for disposing of her murdered daughter’s body is to amend her appeal after it emerged her background court report was prepared by a psychologist who had lied about his qualifications. Lawyers acting for Tracy Reid are to raise questions about Gary Macpherson, a clinical psychologist whose report influenced the decision of the judge trying her case. He had falsely claimed to have a doctorate when he submitted court reports as an expert witness in other cases in 2000 and 2001. [...] Psychological reports on Reid were prepared by Macpherson, whose previous use of the qualification DClinPsychol has been investigated by Greater Glasgow Primary Care Trust, the State Hospital in Carstairs, where he is now employed, and by the British Psychological Society.
This guy is in trouble
As seen on the British website Spiked
At the height of the so-called Prozac Revolution in the early 1990s, fans of the drug made some grand claims for the new pharmaceutical marvel on the block. [...] Since those heady days, however, the reputations of Prozac and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) have taken a beating, not least when GlaxoSmithKlein was forced to abandon the claim that its SSRI, Seroxat, had no withdrawal symptoms. Worse might be on the way - a growing number of people is beginning to suspect that rather than being panaceas, these drugs might be no more than glorified placebos. [...]
It is worth noting that to register a drug, the FDA requires that two trials show it to perform better than placebo. One of the drugs needed nine trials to return two positive ones, the other seven being rejected. 'The whole thing is a pseudo-science', says Kirsch. 'These trials do not show that the drugs are significantly better than placebos.' This is not isolated evidence.
Good article, worth reading. The evidence is building up on the scam behind these drugs.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
Taking Seroxat is increasingly being used as a defence for criminal behaviour. In one case in England, a man had charges dropped against him after claiming the drug turned him into a robber. The drug has been linked to a number of suicides and is currently under review. But its makers - the drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline say that millions of patients around the world have taken it without suffering any ill-effects.
See the extended interview here on the BBC.
[To investigate the doubts surrounding Seroxat, BBC Breakfast's Luisa Baldini talked to Mark Hamilton, who claims that the drug turned him into a violent robber. Full transcript at the link]
Saturday, October 11, 2003
As reported in the Guardian
The scientist who led the latest trial of an antidepressant drug given to children, which claimed that it was effective and safe, has conceded to the Guardian that the drug's potential to cause suicidal thinking needs to be investigated. Last month the Journal of the American Medical Association published results from two trials of children treated with Pfizer's antidepressant drug Lustral, known in the US as Zoloft.
Seventeen children who were given the drug were pulled out of the trial because of side effects, compared with five who were given a placebo. Only 10% more children improved on the drug than improved on a placebo.
The researchers nonetheless concluded that "the results of this pooled analysis demonstrate that sertraline (Lustral) is an effective and well-tolerated short-term treatment for children and adolescents with major depressive disorder".
Obviously, they are right to reconsider their position. What are these people thinking? What are their priorities?
Friday, October 10, 2003
The parents of a 14-year-old Palo Alto boy who threw himself in front of a train last year are suing the manufacturer of Accutane, a popular prescription drug the freshman was using to treat his acne, but which the family claims led to his suicide. Barry and Laurie Wertheimer of Palo Alto filed the lawsuit this week in Santa Clara County Superior Court against Hoffmann-La Roche for negligence, fraud and deceit, and medical negligence, among other charges.
The family is seeking a jury trial and unspecified general and punitive damages. "Steven Wertheimer's suicide was yet another tragic consequence of the ingestion of the acne drug Isotretinion, more commonly known as 'Accutane,' which Steven had been prescribed and taken over a six-month period," the lawsuit reads.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Dr. Stephen Rodney Kirkham has had his psychiatrist's license put on probation for five years because of his history of alcohol and drug abuse, according to the state's medical licensing board.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Dr Neil McQuire, 52, is under investigation by British Psychological Society conduct committee in central London for inappropriate conduct with a female domestic violence victim. He has said he did not believe his behaviour towards the patient was wrong in the context of therapy, but agreed some of his actions or comments could be “open to misinterpretation”. He says that many of the allegations made by the patient – referred to only by the initials SK – were simply “untrue”. He told the committee that from May 1998, he had been made aware that his approach and therapy had sometimes crossed personal boundaries.
Dr McQuire, an associate fellow of the BPS, was dismissed from his post as a consultant clinical psychologist with Rochdale Healthcare NHS Trust in February 2002 for gross misconduct after a series of complaints by female patients over “inappropriate touching and comments”.
Dr Neil McQuire, has been found guilty of professional misconduct.
Among other things, he allegedly told a young Asian woman he could see her in a relationship with a “white man” and that he was sad it could not be with him.
The British Psychological Society’s conduct committee said the father-of-three, of Clay Lane, Norden, Rochdale, Lancashire, had “violated the boundaries of therapeutic relationships” with a number of woman, even after receiving oral and written warnings by his employers.
Monday, October 06, 2003
A German doctor under police investigation over the deaths of 76 people insisted in a newspaper interview that she was innocent. "I'm no angel of death," Mechthild Bach told the Neue Presse newspaper in Hanover, central Germany, where the investigation is being coordinated.
The 53-year-old denied allegations she had deliberately killed patients by injecting them with fatally high doses of morphine. "There is nothing true in these claims," she said, putting the blame on a health insurance company which she said wanted to close the clinic where she worked.
She said she had instead "accompanied people into death," but only after consultations with the patient and their family. The goal was to allow them to die "without pain, fear or suffering".
It is still not clear whether the patients had voiced any wish to die.
The prosecutor's office in Hanover has said it is unclear whether the high dosages were given deliberately or accidentally, or without Bach having told the patients of the potential deadly side-effects. Two bodies have been exhumed so far for further examination.
According to weekend press reports, several of those who died in her care had been admitted with ailments that were not terminal, and had not previously reported suffering. Helping someone to die at their own request is punishable under German law by between six months and five years in prison.
Sunday, October 05, 2003
Lou Dobbs recent column raises questions about overmedicating in the USA.
American consumers, mostly children, account for more than 90% of global consumption of such stimulants. "If we have four or five times the learning disability or depression or other neurotic illnesses that the Europeans do," Caplan says, "then either we got a really bad gene pool through immigration or we're overmedicating."
and, of course, the other answer is that everyone else is crazy.....
yeh, that's the answer ....
Friday, October 03, 2003
- A woman who blames her husband's suicide on Prozac has filed a lawsuit claiming that Eli Lilly & Co. should have warned patients that some people's bodies cannot metabolize the drug's active ingredient. The lawsuit filed against the Indianapolis-based drugmaker Thursday in Marion County Superior Court is the second to make such a claim. Lilly, which contends the drug is safe, settled a similar case in Georgia this spring.
But Houston attorney Andy Vickery, who has filed more than 20 lawsuits against the drugmaker including the Georgia suit, said this case is different. "This is the first case involving Lilly that we have hard scientific proof that our client had a hard time metabolizing Prozac," he said. A blood test found high levels of fluoxetine, Prozac's active ingredient, in the body of Clarkston, Mich., police officer Daren Alli following his May 23, 2001 suicide, alleges the lawsuit.
Alli had taken Prozac for three days to alleviate a "mild" case of depression, but threw the pills in the toilet after they made him "jumpy" and "jittery," said his widow, Michele.
Four days later, the SWAT team captain shot himself in the head with a .38-caliber revolver.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Psychological testing for the Broward Public Defender's Office is in disarray after the procedures of two prominent psychologists in murder cases have come into question. Another psychologist, Sherrie Bourg Carter, alleged that William Vicary and David Shapiro either deliberately contaminated tests by coaching murder defendants or manipulated answers to help the defense attorneys who hired them. Also, Shapiro was criticized for using unlicensed student interns to conduct tests in first-degree murder cases such as Polanco's.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Good article in the Christian Science Monitor looks at the problems in fighting drug addiction, and the messages that get sent to kids.
"The whole psychiatry movement basically got hijacked by the pharmaceutical industry in the late '80s," he [Dr Lawrence Diller] charges. "The discovery of certain drugs and the power of certain drug companies actually altered the way we think of ourselves."
"I worry that Ritalin becomes a substitute for other important factors, such as parents parenting better and teachers teaching better," he says. When that happens, he says, "the doctor winds up being complicit with values that are not good for children."
Society is normalizing the use of self-improvement drugs, and kids are acutely aware of that, says Peter Kramer, a professor at Brown University in Providence, R.I., and author of "Listening to Prozac."
"There's a phenomenon of giving medication to people who are fairly healthy," he says, "and having them overshoot to a point where they are more culturally rewarded."
That may be one reason why it's hard for today's adolescents to absorb the message when adults want them to understand that drugs can also be dangerous.
well, duh ...