It's been five years since Byran Uyesugi murdered seven Xerox coworkers, but the victims' families are still seeking damages in court. On Wednesday, a judge ruled that the widows can sue Kaiser Medical because a psychiatrist there admitted he forgot about Uyesugi. The victims' families have used the courts to find out if Uyesugi's doctors could have prevented the murders. The families' lawyers now say the answer may be yes.
"This was someone that was referred to him for evaluation and the doctor clearly did nothing," family attorney Michael Green said. The doctor is Marvin Mathews, a Kaiser psychiatrist who gave Uyesugi the green light to return to work at Xerox. Kaiser argued that Uyesugi was not their responsibility.
Monday, May 31, 2004
It's been five years since Byran Uyesugi murdered seven Xerox coworkers, but the victims' families are still seeking damages in court. On Wednesday, a judge ruled that the widows can sue Kaiser Medical because a psychiatrist there admitted he forgot about Uyesugi. The victims' families have used the courts to find out if Uyesugi's doctors could have prevented the murders. The families' lawyers now say the answer may be yes.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
As seen in this report
An Arlington, Texas child psychiatrist accused of indecency with two juvenile patients faces a new charge of inappropriate touching after a third child came forward to police this month. The new complaint surfaced after a mother read a news article about psychiatrist Donald Hughes having his medical license temporarily suspended during a police investigation of allegations made by two male juvenile patients, Arlington Sgt. Craig Leondike said Friday. The woman contacted police after talking to her preteen son about his experience as Hughes' patient last year at Millwood Hospital, Leondike said. "She brought him to the front desk of the police station because he had made an outcry to her about what had happened to him," Leondike said.
Hughes, 52, was first arrested April 22 on two charges of indecency with a child after two patients at Millwood Hospital alleged that he fondled them on separate occasions in April 2003. He was released on bail the same day he was arrested. "It appears he committed this last offense after being interviewed by police about the first two reports," Leondike said.
After the third child came forward, police issued an arrest warrant Thursday for Hughes on a charge of inde-cency/fondling, Leondike said. On Friday, Hughes turned himself in to the Tarrant County Jail and was released on $40,000 bail, his attorney, Bruce Ashworth, said. Ashworth has said the charges against his client are without merit. He declined to comment on the new allegation.
This month, the state medical board temporarily suspended Hughes' license after deeming that allowing him to continue practicing medicine would pose a public threat.
As seen in this report
The second victim of a deviant psychiatrist yesterday relived the terrifying moment he sexually assaulted her in a busy pub. Mum-of-one Jenny Pope said: 'That monster should be jailed for life.'
Jenny was attacked by sick psycho Dr Darren Holdsworth after he was given bail to appeal a three-year jail sentence for sexually torturing teenager Rachel Lynn. Rachel, now 21, was stunned when she found out Holdsworth was on the street and warned: 'He is a danger to women.'
Holdsworth was found guilty at his trial in Glasgow two weeks ago and will be sentenced on June 24. Sheriff Ronnie Watson told him: 'Your version of events does not match that of anyone else.' Holdsworth, 37, attacked Jenny while appealing against a sentence in November for sexually assaulting Rachel when she was 19. He was branded 'a potential risk to women' and was added to the Sex Offenders' Register. At the time, he was a psychiatrist at Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, dealing with vulnerable men and women.
Full details at the link
Saturday, May 29, 2004
This article is sure to hit a few nerves, since it connects the dots between the Bush Family and Eli Lily the well known manufacturer of Psych Drugs. (Alternate Link here)
A sample of those who have been on the Eli Lilly payroll includes:
* Former President George Herbert Walker Bush (one-time member of the Eli Lilly board of directors)
* Former CEO of Enron, Ken Lay (one-time member of the Eli Lilly board of directors)
* George W. Bush’s former director of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels (a former Eli Lilly vice president)
* George W. Bush’s Homeland Security Advisory Council member, Sidney Taurel (current CEO of Eli Lilly)
And there is this Tidbit:
Alexander Cockburn, in both the Nation and the New Statesman, was one of the first to connect the dots between the Bush family and Eli Lilly. After George Herbert Walker Bush left his CIA director post in 1977 and before becoming vice president under Ronald Reagan in 1980, he was on Eli Lilly’s board of directors. As vice president, Bush failed to disclose his Lilly stock and lobbied hard on behalf of Big Pharma—especially Eli Lilly. For example, Bush sought special tax breaks from the IRS for Lilly and other pharmaceutical corporations that were manufacturing in Puerto Rico.
Cockburn also reported on Mitch Daniels, then a vice president at Eli Lilly, who in 1991 co-chaired a fundraiser that collected $600,000 for the Bush-Quayle campaign. This is the same Mitch Daniels who in 2001 became George W. Bush’s Director of Management and Budget. In June 2003, soon after Daniels departed from that job, he ran for governor of Indiana (home to Eli Lilly headquarters).
In a piece in the Washington Post called “Delusional on the Deficit,” Senator Ernest Hollings wrote, “When Daniels left two weeks ago to run for governor of Indiana, he told the Post that the government is ‘fiscally in fine shape.’ Good grief! During his 29-month tenure, he turned a so-called $5.6 trillion, 10-year budget surplus into a $4 trillion deficit—a mere $10 trillion downswing in just two years. If this is good fiscal policy, thank heavens Daniels is gone.”
There is much more to this very detailed article.
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Dr. Michael Browne is a psychologist who has spent 25 years in private practice in Minneapolis and an adjunct University of Minnesota faculty member who supervises psychiatric residents learning to conduct therapy.
About five years ago, he was asked to give a talk about mental health issues to residents training to be family practice doctors. In preparation, he started reading research on antidepressants. "I was just completely astounded by what I found," he explains. "The claims for the effectiveness of antidepressants were greatly exaggerated. I looked closely at the evidence, and it's not there."
Trained as an experimental psychologist at Indiana University, Browne went on to write and lecture critically about the mental health industry's growing dependence on antidepressants. His most recent paper, "The Medicalization of Emotional Distress and the Future of Psychotherapy," argues that the mental health profession needs to kick its drug habit, and lays out half a dozen reasons why that will be tough.
I wrote a couple of papers about the subject, and I just kept pulling in more information. And I found that the evidence was exaggerated not just for antidepressants, but for virtually every single psychiatric medication. I talked to colleagues, and their reaction was, "Well, it can't be that bad. They wouldn't be giving out all of these drugs if they didn't work."
As it turns out, and I say this based on looking very carefully at the research: These drugs have little or no effectiveness. They simply don't help that much. You can always point to individual patients who will say that any treatment is wonderful, it's cured them. That's why people go around wearing copper bracelets. There are people who say, "I had terrible arthritis and this copper bracelet cured my arthritis."
And it's not really so surprising that these medications don't work. If a person is very seriously unhappy, and it goes on for months and months, what does that mean? That means there's something very seriously wrong in that person's life. It's not for trivial reasons. And common sense tells us it's not likely to be easy to change that.
Read a full and detailed interview with him here
As reported in the Advocate
It will take another 11 years to finish this quest to bring a measure of dignity to those buried in Connecticut Valley Hospital's cemetery, to put a face on 1,670 faceless dead from decades past, 100 names at a time. As they have each May since 1999, the Rev. John C. Hall and nine other Middletown clergy members recently gathered for a memorial service at the old cemetery off a gravel road on the grounds of CVH, the state's first and only remaining public psychiatric hospital.
On this day, the names of the dead in graves 500-599 - the markers bear only a number that corresponds with a death registry - were read one by one, each followed by a blessing. The clergy, a few in flowing robes starkly white against the aging stones, moved from marker to marker, their progress matched by a couple of dozen onlookers.
Bob Byrnie stooped and placed a white rose at each marker. His grandfather, a carriage painter named James Byrnie who suffered from lead-poisoning dementia, is buried here. His grandfather died in 1906. It was not until 1997, after an exhaustive records search by Bob Byrnie and his sister, Anne Grace of Cromwell, that James Byrnie's fate was learned. "To put a face on those buried here - it's just a wonderful concept. I look forward to coming each year," Byrnie said. [...]
Until the mid-1950s, the dead at many of the state hospitals across the country were buried under small, numbered markers. The stigma of mental illness was that great. In later years, it was thought that state confidentiality laws prevented the hospital from identifying the dead. The names would surface another way: In the late 1990s, Wesleyan graduate student Ben Holder found a list of the dead at Russell Library. Then in December 1999, the state attorney general concluded that because the deaths preceded the state's 1969 confidentiality law, it would not be a breach of privacy to name the patients now.
Plans for Harton Regional Medical Center (in the Tullahoma area of Tennessee) to expand its critical care unit have been announced by Bob Bigley, the hospital's chief executive officer. The addition of eleven beds will replace the psychiatric unit at Harton, now located on the third floor of the medical center. The psychiatric unit will close June 15 to begin the renovations needed to accommodate the new critical care patient beds.
"Our ability to offer advanced services in the areas of cardiac and neurosurgery care has prompted us to identify a solution for the addition of more critical care beds," stated Bigley. "The critical care unit is always full and we have to address this need. With the closing of one unit, we will be able to expand another."
Harton is a 137-bed comprehensive health care facility serving a four county rural area. Harton's regional services set them apart from traditional community hospitals by offering complete obstetric, medical, cardiology, neurological, surgical, state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services lead by more staff with advanced certification and training.
Accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Harton has served the Tullahoma area and surrounding counties since 1967.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
The Psychs have no workable methodology to help people after a traumatic events.
A Report in the Psychiatric Times claims:
Despite repeated attempts to document that psychological debriefing can prevent posttraumatic psychopathology, there is no convincing evidence that it does so. Even if the procedure is not harmful, its continued implementation may delay the development of truly effective crisis interventions, while wasting time, money and resources on a method that is, at best, inert
As seen in the report:
Individuals exposed to horrifying, life-threatening events are at heightened risk for posttraumatic stress disorder. Given the substantial personal and societal costs of chronic PTSD, mental health care professionals have developed early intervention methods designed to mitigate acute emotional distress and prevent the emergence of posttraumatic psychopathology. The method most widely used throughout the world is psychological debriefing.
Psychological debriefing is a brief crisis intervention usually administered within days of a traumatic event. A debriefing session, especially if done with a group of individuals (e.g., firefighters), usually lasts about three to four hours. By helping the trauma-exposed individual "talk about his feelings and reactions to the critical incident", the debriefing facilitator aims "to reduce the incidence, duration, and severity of, or impairment from, traumatic stress" (Everly and Mitchell, 1999). [...]
According to Mitchell and Everly (2001), research on their debriefing methods "proves their clinical effectiveness far beyond reasonable doubt." Other scholars, however, have drawn drastically different conclusions. After conducting a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) on debriefing, Rose et al. (2001) concluded,
There is no current evidence that ... psychological debriefing is a useful treatment for the prevention of post traumatic stress disorder after traumatic incidents. Compulsory debriefing of victims of trauma should cease.
Another meta-analysis revealed that individuals exposed to Mitchell's version of debriefing failed to experience symptomatic relief, whereas individuals who were not exposed to CISD did show improvement (van Emmerik et al., 2002). Although most studies have failed to uncover any beneficial effect of debriefing, two have shown that it can impede natural recovery from trauma.
Despite repeated attempts to document that psychological debriefing can prevent posttraumatic psychopathology, there is no convincing evidence that it does so. Even if the procedure is not harmful, its continued implementation may delay the development of truly effective crisis interventions, while wasting time, money and resources on a method that is, at best, inert.
It is of note that according to people who were there at the rescue scene at Ground Zero at the World Trade centers, the rescue personnel wanted to get back to work rescuing their fellows as soon as possible, and to spend 4 hours in debriefing was a crime against the people still under the rubble.
Other groups, such as volunteer ministers attracted far more attention and seemed to be far more effective. To the horror of the psychs in their blue surgical smocks with the word "psych" scrawled on duct tape for a label, who seem to have been avoided.
As reported in the NY Times (Free reg required)
State health officials and the local police are investigating accusations that patients undergoing psychiatric or substance-abuse treatment at St. Vincent's Westchester Hospital in Harrison, NY have been sexually abused or beaten by other patients, officials said on Friday.
The police have investigated 27 reports of sexual or physical assault at the hospital since 1997, with about a dozen of those investigations currently under way, according to Capt. Anthony Marraccini of the Harrison police.
David E. Worby, a lawyer at Worby Groner Edelman who is pursuing five lawsuits filed since September alleging sexual abuse and beatings at the hospital, said: "There is a pattern of neglect in that hospital that allowed patients to abuse one another. Getting raped when you are seeking treatment at a hospital is just about the worst thing."
"We have criminal convictions on some of these cases and investigations on the others, so for the hospital to deny what is happening is preposterous," Mr. Worby said.
Monday, May 24, 2004
As seen here,
The death certificate listed suicide as the official cause of death. But the real cause of his demise was a controversial gender experiment lead by one of the most influential sex researchers of the 20th century. Bruce Reimer was born in 1965 to a blue-collar family in Winnipeg, Canada. Eight months later, he was victimized by a botched circumcision, and baby Bruce ended up without his sex organ.
The distraught family eventually contacted John Money, a charismatic psychologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Dr. Money was a leading advocate of the idea that sex-role identification is determined by one’s environment, not one’s genetic make-up.
Money recommended sex re-assignment surgery, a dubious procedure that had never been performed on a boy born with normal genitalia. Bruce would be given a vagina, his name would be changed to Brenda, and he would be raised as a girl. It would be as easy as that. So one month before his second birthday, little Bruce was wheeled into the operating room as a boy, and came out as a girl.
Enrolled in school, she was more competitive than her female classmates. When girls got into fights, they used their open hands. But Brenda used her fists. Then Brenda’s girlfriends discovered that she urinated standing up.
Dr. Money was apprised of all this, and more.
But when Money released his book, Man and Woman, Boy and Girl in 1972, he portrayed Brenda’s sex-change operation as a resounding success. The book reviewer at the liberal New York Times wrote approvingly: “if you tell a boy he is a girl, and raise him as one, he will want to do feminine things.”
Except it was never true
When Brenda reached puberty and her voice deepened, the folly of the charade could no longer be denied. About to undergo her annual breast exam one day, Brenda refused to disrobe. When asked by the doctor, “Do you want to be a girl or not?,” she defiantly answered “No!” Brenda’s parents knew the time had come to tell her the truth. Brenda immediately reverted to her male identity. Choosing the name David, he underwent penile reconstructive surgery. In 1990, David put the past behind him when he and Jane Anne Fontane tied the knot.
Two years ago, David’s life began to unravel when his brother unexpectedly died. Then he separated from his wife. After 38 years of indignity and torment, David Reimer took his own life on May 4
See also this article entitled "Death by Theory"
As seen in this story on USA Today from a couple of years ago:
The movie A Beautiful Mind, nominated for eight Academy Awards, has brought welcome attention to the fact that people can and do recover from schizophrenia, a severely disabling disorder that affects about one in 100 Americans. Unfortunately, the film fabricates a critical detail of John Nash's recovery and in so doing, obscures a question that should concern us all: Do the medications we use to treat schizophrenia promote long-term recovery -- or hinder it?
In the movie, Nash -- just before he receives a Nobel Prize -- speaks of taking ''newer medications.'' The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has praised the film's director, Ron Howard, for showing the ''vital role of medication'' in Nash's recovery.
But as Sylvia Nasar notes in her biography of Nash, on which the movie is loosely based, this brilliant mathematician stopped taking anti-psychotic drugs in 1970 and slowly recovered over two decades. Nasar concluded that Nash's refusal to take drugs ''may have been fortunate'' because their deleterious effects ''would have made his gentle re-entry into the world of mathematics a near impossibility.''
In other words, the movie lied about the effectiveness of the psych drugs in this particular case, because they were not used at all.
His is just one of many such cases. Most Americans are unaware that the World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly found that long-term schizophrenia outcomes are much worse in the USA and other ''developed'' countries than in poor ones such as India and Nigeria, where relatively few patients are on anti-psychotic medications. In ''undeveloped'' countries, nearly two-thirds of schizophrenia patients are doing fairly well five years after initial diagnosis; about 40% have basically recovered. But in the USA and other developed countries, most patients become chronically ill. The outcome differences are so marked that WHO concluded that living in a developed country is a ''strong predictor'' that a patient never will fully recover.
There is more.
In 1987, psychologist Courtenay Harding reported that a third of chronic schizophrenia patients released from Vermont State Hospital in the late 1950s completely recovered. Everyone in this ''best-outcomes'' group shared one common factor: All had weaned themselves from anti-psychotic medications. The notion that schizophrenics must spend a lifetime on these drugs, she concluded, is a ''myth.''
In 1994, Harvard Medical School researchers found that outcomes for U.S. schizophrenia patients had worsened during the past 20 years and were now no better than they were 100 years earlier, when therapy involved plunking patients into bathtubs for hours. And in 1998, University of Pennsylvania investigators reported that standard anti-psychotic medications cause a specific area of the brain to become abnormally enlarged and that this drug-induced enlargement is associated with a worsening of symptoms.
The Best therapy? Simple providing a peaceful and safe enviroment.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
As reported in the British Medical Journal
A whistleblower who uncovered evidence that major drug companies sought to influence government officials has been removed from his job and placed on administrative leave. Allen Jones, an investigator at the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General (OIG), was escorted out of his workplace on 28 April and told "not to appear on OIG property" after OIG officials accused him of talking to the press. Reports of Mr Jones's findings were widely reported in the New York Times, BMJ (7 February, p 306), and elsewhere.
His findings showed that the pharmaceutical company Janssen had paid honorariums to key state officials who held influence over the drugs prescribed in state-run prisons and mental hospitals.
Mr Jones filed a suit on 7 May against his supervisors charging that the OIG's policy of barring employees from talking to the media was "unconstitutional." Mr Jones claims, in the complaint filed in the Middle District Court of Pennsylvania, that he is being harassed by his superiors and Pennsylvania governmental institutions in order to "coverup, discourage, and limit any investigations or oversight into the corrupt practices of large drug companies and corrupt public officials who have acted with them."
See also this report
Saturday, May 22, 2004
As reported in the NY Times (Free reg may be require). Note: Forensic Evaluators are used to help determine which parent should be given child custody, among other things, in the state of New York.
A Manhattan stockbroker, Ms. Cockrell said she was not a disgruntled litigant; the evaluator in her case recommended that she retain custody of her daughter, although not on the terms she wanted. Her grievance involves the way she says she was treated by the evaluator, Dr. Stephen P. Herman, a psychiatrist often appointed in custody cases. In a 25-page complaint filed with the State Health Department and the inspector general of New York's court system, she says he was hostile, raised his voice at her, ordered $4,000 worth of psychological tests he did not use, refused to accept information she had tried to give him, and disparaged the other therapists her family was using.
Ms. Cockrell said she could not protest to the American Psychiatric Association because it said Dr. Herman was not a member. She filed her complaint with the State Health Department's office of professional medical conduct, which quickly rejected it, saying that custody disputes must be handled by the courts.
Ms. Cockrell said she then met with Justice Jacqueline W. Silbermann, the state's chief matrimonial judge, who was sympathetic but told her she should go back to the medical board. Ms. Cockrell has just refiled that complaint, signed by three other women who say they had similar experiences.
She and other parents say they have also complained to Sherrill R. Spatz, the inspector general of the court system. David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the courts, said that no one there would comment on specific cases, but that such complaints would be under the inspector general's purview.
Ms. Cockrell was among the parents who collected hundreds of signatures on a petition asking the Association of the Bar of the City of New York to investigate the custody evaluation process. That proposal was rejected.
Now in her third year of trying to fight the forensic-evaluation process in New York, Ms. Cockrell says she has met many other parents with similar problems. "I just think the whole system should be changed," she said. "It's hurting families."
A Matter of Passing the Buck to Make a Buck
State officials may think twice about how they respond to psychiatric staff who raise concerns about patient safety now that one such administrator is facing a nearly $1 million judgment against her. A federal jury in Delaware has awarded a psychiatrist nearly $1 million in damages after agreeing with his contention that state mental health officials punished him for exercising his First Amendment rights.
David Springer, M.D., was head of the medical staff and director of residency training at Delaware Psychiatric Center, the state’s only public psychiatric hospital. In May 2000, the director of the state’s Division of Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health, Renata J. Henry, told Springer, who had been employed as an independent contractor since 1991, that she was not going to renew his contract for the next year and that he would have to bid for a job as though he were a new employee. Springer sued Henry in her capacity as director of the mental health division, contending that he was terminated because he spoke out about his patient-safety concerns.
The jury agreed with Springer and awarded him $285,464 for lost earnings, $588,431 for lost future earnings, and $100,000 for injury to his reputation, according to his lawyers, Thomas and Stephen Neuberger. The jury also awarded $25,000 in punitive damages against Henry after deciding that she acted "recklessly, intentionally, or maliciously" toward the psychiatrist. In Delaware, when punitive damages are awarded, the defendant becomes liable for the entire amount of the award, so Henry, not the state, may have to pay the total of $998,895.
As published in
Psychiatric News May 21, 2004
Volume 39 Number 10
© 2004 American Psychiatric Association
Friday, May 21, 2004
Sometimes even acne medicine can have unforseen psychiatric side effects. As reported in the Register Guard of Washington state
The parents of a Springfield area teenager who killed himself after taking a powerful acne drug have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against PeaceHealth and the boy's dermatologist. The drug, a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A, is powerfully effective at clearing up severe cases of acne. But it also has been linked to depression and suicide.
The suit, filed by the parents of Dustin Luke Greufe, seeks $1 million in noneconomic damages "for loss of love, society and companionship" and $1 million in economic damages, plus $5,000 for his funeral expenses. The suit alleges PeaceHealth and Dr. Patricia O'Hare, a PeaceHealth Medical Group dermatologist, were negligent for inappropriately prescribing the drug Accutane to Dustin Greufe; failing to warn the Greufes of the drug's risks; and failing to monitor Dustin Greufe for adverse psychiatric side effects, including depression and suicidal thoughts.
Greufe was a 16-year-old junior at Thurston High School when he hanged himself May 14, 2001, in the barn at his parent's home in Mohawk, northeast of Springfield. A month earlier, he'd completed a six-month course of Accutane prescribed by O'Hare.
PeaceHealth is the Bellevue, Wash.-based nonprofit corporate parent of Sacred Heart Medical Center and PeaceHealth Medical Group, a Eugene-based medical practice with about 110 physicians. Spokesman Brian Terrett said he couldn't comment because PeaceHealth hadn't been notified of the suit.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
As reported on News.com Australia
Human rights activists and parents say the Education Department has not taken sufficient action to protect children in response to the case of a student who was locked in a cage at a Perth school. Since the independent inquiry into the treatment of 12-year-old intellectually disabled student Neil Moore, the department has ordered all schools to immediately assess all "low stimulus isolation facilities". The schools have been told they must consult a district manager before using isolation facilities, the child's carers must be informed, records kept and the facilities reviewed "periodically".
But parents and child protection advocates say the action is inadequate.
Moira Raynor, a former West Australian human rights and equal opportunity commissioner who was director of the Office of the Children's Rights Commissioner in London, said she could not understand how child psychologist Jay Birnbrauer and the department had concluded that Kenwick School had not breached its duty of care in using the cage to control Neil's behaviour. "I was absolutely astonished ... given that detention is supposed to be an absolute last resort," she said.
Neil, who has an autism-related disorder and is prone to extreme behaviour, was repeatedly locked in the purpose-built enclosure for up to 90 minutes at a time between October 2002 and September last year. The enclosure, referred to by school staff as the "quiet garden", comprised an area of unshaded grass surrounded on three sides by a 3.5m-high wire fence, with a wooden bench but no water or toilet facilities.
A Burlington psychiatrist has been arrested a third time within the past year. As a result of his two previous arrests on child porn and computer theft charges, Allan Beitel was forbidden from using the Internet. The first arrest was in April, 2003 and the second this past January.
Peel region police now say Beitel had been intercepting a neighbour's internet connection to disguise his internet activity. Police say a search of Beitel's Burlington home revealed a lap top computer capable of intercepting wireless internet services.
Beitel faces five new charges, including theft of telecommunications and unauthorized use of a computer. He will appear in a Brampton court for a bail hearing Thursday
As reported in Canada's National Post
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Napa psychologist Frank Lucchetti has lost his license because an administrative judge found he illegally dispensed or prescribed prescription drugs to two patients. In a decision effective Friday, the California Board of Psychology adopted an administrative law judge's order to revoke Lucchetti's license, and he can no longer practice psychology in California. The judge also ruled Lucchetti has to pay $48,500 to the board and the California Attorney General's office to cover costs of prosecuting and investigating the case.
The judge ruled that Lucchetti had committed several violations of the state's Business and Professions code, including: unprofessional conduct; gross negligence; commission of a dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent act; and functioning outside one's field of competence.
According to a press release from the board, testimony showed that Lucchetti gave samples of prescription medications -- an antidepressant and a sedative -- to one patient in 2000, and altered a doctor's prescription for another patient in 2002 by changing the prescription to a greater quantity of another antidepressant prescription drug. The patients made the allegations to their physicians, who reported Lucchetti to the board.
As reported in the Guardian
A nurse claims she was forced to quit her job after a psychiatrist humiliated her by making sexist comments in front of patients and colleagues, the General Medical Council was told yesterday.
Deborah Pollard, 38, was allegedly berated over a three-year period by Dr Sharaf Salem, who is accused of undermining her authority as a team leader at a clinic in Grimsby. He denies serious professional misconduct. Dr Salem, 47, from Lincoln, is said to have said: "You are only a woman, you're a nobody" and made inappropriate comments about her body. On another occasion, he reportedly said: "I run this organisation. You are only a nurse."
She told the GMC hearing in Manchester yesterday: "He took away all my confidence and made my position seem pointless. Every day became a matter of 'How do I get through another day without a run-in with him?'" The incidents allegedly occurred from 1996-99 when Dr Salem worked at the former Scunthorpe community healthcare NHS trust. The hearing continues.
Monday, May 17, 2004
As reported on 1010 Wins and on TV Station News 12 This writeup combines data from both reports.
New York City Hospitals say they're being flooded with public school students who have committed only minor infractions - but are being labeled as needing psychiatric attention. That means they are brought to a local emergency room. Hospital officials say schools are overreacting to even the slightest mishaps. At one hospital, North Central Bronx, officials say they've received 42 students a month since the beginning of the school year. Officials at North Central Bronx and New York-Presbyterian hospitals tell the Daily News that at least a third of the students who visit E-Rs do not need treatment.
The city Education Department counters that school principals were often forced to make decisions about how to handle unruly students in "extreme" circumstances. In most cases, the department says, parents were involved in treatment decisions. Education Department policy dictates that students labeled a "clear threat" to school safety must receive immediate psychiatric attention.
Cadean Coward, 12, is currently receiving psychiatric care at Bronx Lebanon Hospital. And Cadean's mother is not responsible for her son being there. School officials at C.S. 92 sent him to the hospital. Jean Coward says she never gave consent for her son to be checked in and medicated. She claims she was told by officials that her son was violent. She does not believe her son has emotional troubles and says there needs to be more supervision at the school.
According to Dr. Andrew Bell, director of the Child and Adolescent Crisis Intervention Center, what happened to Coward's son is a growing trend. He estimates that around 30 students are admitted to emergency rooms each month.
But in a statement released by the Department of Education, a spokesperson only cites two cases of public school students being sent to the hospital. The spokesperson says, "In extreme cases the procedure is to attempt to calm the student, call school safety, the child's parent and EMS. No decisions are made without parental consent." Still, Coward maintains that was not the case with her son.
The Associated Press has a report on the rise in use of psych drugs to handle behavior problems.
As more children pop pills for attention deficit and other behavior disorders, new figures show spending on those drugs has for the first time edged out the cost of antibiotics and asthma medications for kids. A 49 percent rise in the use of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder drugs by children under 5 in the last three years contributed to a 23 percent increase in usage for all children, according to an annual analysis of drug use trends by Medco Health Solutions Inc.
"Behavioral medicines have eclipsed the other categories this year," said Dr. Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer. "It certainly reflects the concern of parents that their children do as well as they can." Antibiotics still top the list of the most commonly used children's drugs, but parents are paying more for behavioral drugs, such as stimulants or antidepressants, according to the analysis of drug use among 300,000 children under 19.
Medco, the nation's largest prescription benefit manager, was to release the data culled from its customers' usage on Monday.
The most startling change was a 369 percent increase in spending on attention deficit drugs for children under five. That's in part because of the popularity of newer, long-acting medicines under patent, compared with twice-a-day Ritalin (news - web sites) and generic versions available for years.
Friday, May 14, 2004
HIGH FALLS, N.Y. -- A former psychiatrist was sentenced to more than three years in prison for selling prescriptions for OxyContin, Percocet and Xanax to Medicaid recipients for sale on the black market. David Roemer, 44, of High Falls, was one of 34 people indicted in November 2003 on charges of grand larceny, conspiracy and drug sales and possession.
Court documents state that four Bronx residents recruited Medicaid recipients from the streets and drug treatment centers in New York City. Prosecutors said the recruits went to Roemer's mid-Hudson Valley office by the van-load, from May 2002 to November 2002, and gave him money for prescriptions.
Roemer pleaded guilty to a conspiracy that involved sending the Medicaid recipients to pharmacies in the Bronx and Manhattan. Prosecutors said the recruits earned $100 a piece to purchase the drugs with their Medicaid cards and turn them over for illegal sale. Roemer, who practiced both in High Falls and in Manhattan, surrendered his medical license during the state investigation. He was sentenced in state Supreme Court in the Bronx and could spend up to 10 years in state prison. He was also ordered to pay more that $340,000 in restitution to the Medicare program.
High Falls is about 80 miles north of New York City.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Pfizer Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to charges that its Warner-Lambert flouted federal law by promoting non-approved uses for one of its drugs. Under the agreement to be announced Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston, Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, has agreed to plead guilty to violating the Food and Drug Cosmetic Act and pay an undisclosed amount to settle the case. Company officials had previously said they were setting aside at least $400 million for the settlement. The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported Thursday that Pfizer will pay about $430 million in fines in one of the largest Medicaid-fraud settlements.
The case began in 1996, when microbiologist David Franklin filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Parke-Davis, and its parent company, Warner-Lambert, alleging the company ignored federal law in the 1990s with an illegal marketing plan used to drive up sales of the anti-seizure drug Neurontin. Pfizer bought Warner-Lambert four years ago. The lawsuit alleged that Parke-Davis adopted a plan to step up publicity about Neurontin's effectiveness for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including relieving pain, headaches, bipolar disorder and other psychiatric illnesses. While doctors can prescribe drugs for any use, the promotion of drugs for these so-called ''off-label uses'' is prohibited by the Food and Drug Cosmetic Act.
In 1998, Dr. Loren Mosher famously resigned from the American Psychiatric Association, in dismay and disgust, claiming that many of his colleagues are too quick to hand out drugs in what he terms an "unholy alliance" between psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies. A substantial number of cases of misdiagnosis, malpractice and fraud support his view that patient care is very much in jeopardy.
You can read his full letter of resignation here.
A personal account of paroxetine addiction, recovery and survival.
My life has crept so long on a broken wing Thro' cells of madness, haunts of horror and fear, That I come to be grateful at last for a little thing. -Lord Alfred Tennyson
Except for the journal itself, this entire site is a “work in progress” and I will continue to rewrite, edit, modify and, in general, improve it as time goes by. Ideally, I would like to do a lot more cutting and pasting (moving blocks of text around) to consolidate ideas, but I have other things to do in life besides this. I’ll get to it. In the meantime ... I don’t think anything will be lost on you due to a lack of editorial continuity.
And lastly: I have changed the subtitle of this site from “A personal account of paroxetine addiction, recovery and survival” to “A personal account of paroxetine addiction, survival and recovery.” This is a small but critical reordering of terms, since I survived withdrawal, and am now only beginning to recover.
As seen in this report
The biggest case in the General Medical Council's 145-year history sees seven doctors from the Stapleford Centre, a leading addiction clinic in England, accused of irresponsible practice. It has been billed as a showdown not only between two opposing schools of opinion about how heroin addicts should be handled, but also between the NHS and private practice. Never before have so many doctors been jointly charged with serious professional misconduct.
The charges against the Stapleford doctors, which took more than an hour to read out, enumerated on 33 sheets of A4 paper, allege a wide range of malpractices. They include prescribing irresponsibly in regard to the nature, amounts and combinations of drugs; failure to provide adequate initial assessment of patients' condition and needs; failure to provide adequate dose assessment; failure to monitor patients properly, or to establish that they were able to pay for treatment 'through legitimate means'; and prescribing at intervals that would create 'the potential for diversion' - that is, selling drugs on the black market. Colin Brewer personally faces 14 separate charges, including what is perhaps the most serious, relating to the death of a Stapleford patient after a 'DIY home detox' arranged by the clinic.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
As seen on the husband's weblog
I woke up on the 16th and looked over on the the other bed, my wife was thrashing about, she said that she felt very bad, that she had been up most of the previous evening with hot and cold sweats, she said that she had soaked through her nightgown with sweat and thought she must have a fever, she said that she felt very nauseous and had thrown up several times, she told me that she was having real bad abdominal pain and that her whole body ached.
She told me that she was not going to be able to get up and get the kids ready and asked if I would take them to school. I told her that I would be happy too and to just lay back and relax that I would be back in about an hour.
I got back about an hour later and went up to check on my wife, I found her lying on her back outside the bathroom, her lifeless eyes stared up at mine, there was no pulse, her body was cold, and parts of her hands and face were blue. Her body was taken to the State Medical Examiner's office, about three weeks later I was notified that my wife had died from the results of a seizure disorder.
The pathologist later told me that her brain structure was intact, that there was no sign of any hemorrhage or aneurysm, her heart was clear and disease free, body organs were all fine, her lungs and air passages were clear and she had not suffocated.
I am in the process of having an attorney subpoena my wife's medical records, in the course of my search for reasons of my wife's death, the one thing that keeps jumping out at me is the ability of effexor to produce seizures in people that have a tendency to suffer seizures to begin with, 600 mgs. of effexor and 90 mgs of remeron is an outrageous amount to be prescribed to anyone, throw in the epileptic condition and it seems criminal.
Monday, May 10, 2004
A renowned British psychiatrist says he's not hostile toward companies that produce anti-depressant drugs. He just wants the public to know the industry hasn't been telling them the whole story about how dangerous some of the pills actually are. "This is not hostile to industry," said Dr. David Healy. "The raw data ... says these drugs are not regulated, not well-tolerated and not effective."
Healy spoke to professionals at Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital about some of his findings regarding anti-psychotic medications like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.
Healy is a visiting professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and a reader in psychological medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine.
He's authored 120 peer-reviewed articles and more than a dozen books, including The Antidepressant Era, The Creation of Psychopharmacology and Let Them Eat Prozac -- a critical look at the "unhealthy relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and depression."
Healy highlighted results of clinical trials involving medications used to treat depression and schizophrenia that revealed patients on medication were six times more likely to commit suicide or suicidal acts than patients given a placebo.
He also showed data suggesting patients treated 100 years ago were not killing themselves at the same rate as those today.
Healy said the problem is that damaging data is not always shared with psychiatrists hired to complete scientific studies on the drugs -- so they come to falsely positive conclusions based on incomplete information.
Healy also criticized the increasingly popular use of colourful magazine advertisements to sell pharmaceuticals.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Former Psychiatrist Jean Eric Gassy, the man charged with killing Margaret Tobin, South Australia's director of mental health services, has plead not guilty to her murder. Prosecutor Peter Brebner QC told yesterday's court hearing the prosecution was seeking to call 150 witnesses at the trial. The hearing before Justice Ann Vanstone moved into discussion of pre-trial argument once the arraignment was completed. The legal argument is expected to take some time. When completed, a jury will be empanelled for the trial, which has been set down for three months.
As seen in this press Release
In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of American school children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), and treated with medications like Ritalin or Adderall. In some cases, parents are reporting that school administrators are telling them that their child may not attend school unless the child is placed on psychostimulant drugs.
“Government benefits should not be conditioned on the use or nonuse of a psychotropic medicine,” says Richard Glen Boire, legal counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE), a nonprofit policy center devoted to protecting freedom of thought.
The CCLE today launches “Making Choices for Children,” a national campaign designed to call attention to this issue, and to educate parents on their legal right to make medication decisions for their children, free of coercion by school authorities.
While pro-Ritalin and anti-Ritalin groups have garnered most of the attention in this debate, the CCLE hopes to bring a new perspective to the problem – one that focuses on parental choice, rather than on the drugs themselves.
“Parents need to know that they are the ones vested with the legal power to make medication decisions in the best interest of their children,” says CCLE legal counsel Boire. “Some parents may decide to place their children on Ritalin, and others may decide not to. Our campaign aims to support a parent’s free and informed decision either way.”
To that end the CCLE plans to publish a free Parent’s Rights Kit, which will contain plain-language information on informed consent rights and additional resources for parents facing coercive school medication practices in their communities.
The CCLE is also working to educate policymakers on the problem, and supports legislation such as the Child Medication Safety Act (HR 1170), a bill currently before Congress that would block federal education funds from going to schools that condition a child’s attendance on the use of a medication like Ritalin.
To learn more, obtain helpful resources, or to get involved in returning medication decisions to parents, visit the campaign’s website.