Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Magic Pills for Sale

As reported in the Seattle Intelligencer

Do you have Restless Leg Syndrome? How about insomnia? Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Depression?

Come on. You've got to have something wrong with you. Most of us come away from watching drug ads -- about 16 hours a year -- thinking just that. We then go running to our doctors asking for the magic pill, nasal spray or shot.

It's been a decade since the Food and Drug Administration relaxed its regulations on direct-to-consumer advertising by drug companies, and a new study of those ads from 2004 published in the current issue of the Annals of Family Medicine yields some interesting and unsettling results.

Although most ads made some factual claims, the study indicates that 95 percent of them made emotional appeals, showing "characters that have lost control over their social, emotional or physical lives without the medication."

Roughly a quarter of the ads said something about risk factors or prevalence of the condition the drug was meant to treat, and none of the ads mentioned lifestyle changes or alternative products.

The ads can lead to self-diagnosis (a dangerous game we all play at one time or another), causing us to overmedicate, which is both unhealthy and expensive. Advertising a product approved by the FDA falls within the rights of the pharmaceutical companies. But with that right comes major responsibility, and ads should empower and inform consumers. If it takes new regulations to get that accomplished, so be it.

The full study is available online in the current issue of the Annals of Family Medicine

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Drug center ex-patient accepts $3,000,000 settlement

as seen in this report

A former patient at a defunct drug treatment center in Secaucus has agreed to a $3 million settlement with the center's former owners, the former patient's attorney said.

Antonio Carrera was a patient at KIDS of North Jersey for five years undergoing treatment for drug and alcohol addictions - addictions he said he did not have. He said administrators there refused to allow him to attend school and used other patients to physically abuse him when he refused to attend treatment sessions. He agreed to the settlement during a civil suit he filed against the center's owners, Virgil Newton Miller III and his wife, Ruth Ann Newton.

Before the trial began, Carrera - now 26 and living in Clifton - agreed to a $750,000 settlement with Dr. Zisalo Wancier, a psychiatrist at the center, said Carrera's attorney, Phil Elberg.

The settlement with the Newtons was reached Wednesday, but the amount of the settlement wasn't released until Friday.

Although the settlement ended Carrera's suit, state Superior Court Judge Maurice Gallipoli allowed Carrera to testify about his time at the center. He claimed staff members there forced him to make up stories about being addicted to drugs and alcohol, sexually assaulting his siblings and possessing weapons. He was finally allowed to leave the center when he turned 18.

Elberg said Carrera's settlement brings the total of money recouped from the Newtons by former patients to more than $15 million.

"This has to do with the Newtons taking advantage of people, of preying on parents who are concerned for their children," Elberg said.

Accused Psychiatrist Admits Mistakes

From the North West Evening Mail out of the UK

The former head of the mental health ward at West Cumberland Hospital has admitted failures in his treatment of a patient who took a fatal overdose of painkillers.

Psychiatrist Dr Peter Fisher, 46, is accused of the manslaughter of handyman Peter Weighman.

At Carlisle Crown Court he accepted a lack of care which led to the death, but denies gross negligence.

He told the court yesterday that he was “devastated” about the death of the 39-year-old who took 50 Copraxamol tablets after suffering depression when his marriage broke down.

Fisher, of Cullompton, Devon, was in charge of the mental health ward at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven when Mr Weighman died on September 22, 2002.

He was appointed to the hospital’s on-call night rota within a month of joining as a locum doctor, despite not being registered with the General Medical Council.

On learning of the overdose, Fisher took advice from an A&E doctor who told him taking just 10 tablets of the painkiller could cause serious difficulties.

He later awoke the patient to take a blood sample and found him “difficult to rouse”.

He was satisfied that the patient was in a stable condition and was in his opinion sleeping off the overdose. He recommended “no further action necessary”.

Within hours Mr Weighman’s health deteriorated rapidly and he died the following morning.

Fisher said he readily took the blame for a number of failures in Mr Weighman’s treatment.

He told the court: “I was devastated about his death. The nurses and myself were expecting him to fully recover.

“For his condition to change was a terrible tragedy. “There were certainly failures and I have to accept some were my responsibility.”

He said he was at fault for not seeing Mr Weighman within two hours of his overdose to check the facts person ally.

He also conceded he did not make himself clear to the nurses on duty about the need for regular observation.

Fisher was appointed by the North Cumbria Mental Health and Learning and Disabilit ies NHS Trust while disciplinary proceedings were active in New Zealand, where the defendant had worked between 1992 and 2002. The Medical Council of New Zealand ruled on August 15, 2002 that Fisher needed “structural and intensive supervision” from a consultant working alongside him.

Fisher told the court he did not think it was relevant to mention the recommendations to his new employer in Cumbria.

He said: “I was already effectively under super vision from a senior consultant.”

He also did not believe it was important to tell the GMC about the proceed ings when applying for the restoration of his

registration, which he voluntarily gave up in 1996 when leaving the UK.

Fisher said he was “surprised” when he was put on the on-call rota despite the hospital knowing of his lack of GMC registration, but said they were happy as long as he did not exceed his duty. Fisher denies man slaughter through gross negligence.

The hearing continues today.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Secrets of the Drug Trials

Tonight the BBC News Show Panorama will be airing an expose on various officials at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), whose secret emails reveal that the UK's biggest drug company distorted trial results of an anti-depressant, covering up a link with suicide in teenagers.

GSK was forced to reveal its confidential internal archives after many families in the US had sued the company over the death of their children due to consuming the drug.

Secrets of the Drug Trials will be broadcast on Monday 29 January at 2030 on BBC One. The broadcast shows over this link for the next week Watch it NOW using Real Player

Another Anti-depressant drug linked to suicides

Via the Earth Times

The BBC will be airing an expose in which various officials at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have expressed concerns about the usage of the company's anti-depressant drug Seroxat, which the officials feared could lead to suicides among teenagers.

GSK was forced to reveal its confidential internal archives after many families in the US had sued the company over the death of their children due to consuming the drug. Karen Barth Menzies, whose firm represents one of the families, said that GSK continued to say that the drug was safe for children even when results proved the contrary.

"Even when they have negative studies that show that this drug Seroxat is going to harm some kids they still spin that study as remarkably effective and safe for children", she said.

GSK conducted the biggest clinical trial of the drug, known as Study 329, in the US during the 1990s and invited child psychiatrist Dr Neal Ryan of the University of Pittsburgh to be the study's co-author.

During a lecture about childhood depression at a medical conference sponsored by GSK in 2002, Dr Ryan praised Seroxat saying that the drug can be safely used among children and in reality it reduced the number of suicides instead of increasing it.

When Panorama reporter Shelley Jofre searched the confidential archives, she was shocked to find many of the letters that she had sent to Dr Ryan asking about the safety of the drug among children. Dr Ryan had simply forwarded the mails to GSK officials asking for suggestions for the replies.

Jofre also found an email in which a public relations executive for GSK clearly said that the drug was not effective among children. "Originally we had planned to do extensive media relations surrounding this study until we actually viewed the results. Essentially the study did not really show it was effective in treating adolescent depression, which is not something we want to publicize", the email read.

Meanwhile a spokesman for GSK said that his company denies of any wrongdoing. "We are extremely concerned that Panorama will again, through a misleading and deliberately provocative commentary, alarm patients about using their anti-depressant medication, with potentially serious consequences. GSK utterly rejects any suggestion that it has improperly withheld drug trial information", he said.

A Doctor on probation reoffends

Also, as seen in this report:

A former Christchurch doctor who faces being struck off the medical register after being found guilty of paying a patient for sex and trying to dissuade her from making a complaint will learn his fate in March.

During a three-day hearing before the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in Christchurch last August the doctor, whose name is temporarily suppressed, faced six charges alleging disgraceful or professional misconduct.

He was found guilty of disgraceful conduct and a tribunal hearing to assess a penalty is expected to be held early in March after submissions from counsel for the Medical Council and the doctor's lawyer.

At the initial hearing, he strenuously denied allegations that he had sex with the patient, paid her for sexual favours, gave her drugs without prescription or medical reason, advised her how to make a lethal dose of medication to use as a suicide tool and paid her to try to dissuade her from making official complaints against him.

In October, the tribunal said it had found the doctor guilty of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect but did not specify whether he had been found guilty of all six charges.

In its full decision released yesterday, the tribunal said it had rejected charges that he supplied the young woman with drugs and gave her advice on how to prepare a suicide tool.

It found the doctor's conduct as alleged in the four other charges "either separately or cumulatively" amounted to disgraceful conduct.

While the names of the patient and the complainant are permanently suppressed, the tribunal has indicated it plans to lift a temporary suppression order preventing publication of the doctor's name.

The doctor faces removal from the medical register and a heavy fine.

At the tribunal hearing in August, the doctor's former patient gave evidence that she had been in a relationship with the doctor for almost two years after meeting him again by chance in a Christchurch supermarket.

She met the doctor in 1991 when she was aged 16 and he was caring for her family.

Giving evidence on his own behalf, the doctor denied ever dating her, having a sexual relationship with her, buying her lingerie or giving her money, either for sex or to persuade her not to talk to the Health and Disability Commissioner after a complaint was made about his behaviour.

He denied supplying her with the sedative benzodiazepam, but agreed he did prescribe her antibiotics for a urinary infection.

The doctor denied "absolutely" telling the woman he would commit suicide if the complaint against him went ahead.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Betrayal: the sex-hungry doctors who prey on patients

As Seen in the Guardian

To the television scriptwriters, it must have seemed just another torrid soap opera romance. And the tale of handsome young doctor Matt Parker's fling with his beautiful but unstable patient certainly kept Holby City viewers glued to the screen.

But when Kathy Haq, a nurse from Sunderland, saw it she was moved to fury. What horrified her was the dismayed reaction of some fans on the BBC drama's website when Parker ended the affair: 'They were saying, "Oh, he shouldn't have had to finish with her". The public have got to know that this is just not allowed.'

The story did not just offend Haq's professional sensibilities - a doctor can be struck off for sleeping with a patient because of the risk of exploitation. It also revived painful memories. She was a 19-year-old trainee nurse when, suffering from depression, she was referred to a psychiatrist called William Kerr.

In the privacy of the consulting room, she says, the doctor exposed himself to her, saying that 'this is what you need'. What is shocking about the abuse that she went on decades later to describe in court is that it was preventable.

A subsequent public inquiry into how Kerr and his colleague Michael Haslam got away for decades with indecently assaulting and seducing vulnerable patients established that the first complaint against Kerr was in 1965 - by a woman patient who reported being told that sex would cure her. By the Eighties, there had been nearly 30 separate complaints or concerns raised about Kerr's behaviour, but none was taken sufficiently seriously to prompt a full investigation. When a senior nurse at the Clifton Hospital raised the alarm after learning a patient had had an affair with Kerr, she was demoted.

'People used to say to me: "How do you keep going year after year?" and I'd say, "sheer anger",' says Haq, who now runs the Kerr/Haslam survivors' group. She says the effect on the victims' marriages, jobs and health was devastating. One girl whose father approached the group was sent to Kerr aged 16 after being sexually abused by an uncle, but claimed she was subsequently abused by Kerr. Another woman 'still thinks he is coming for her to take her children away, 25 years down the line. Those kids are grown up and married, and she still has dreams about this'.

The medical establishment insists that, in the nine years since Kerr was charged, medical regulation has been transformed rendering such a scandal far less likely now. But with rising numbers of ordinary Britons now seeing therapists and plans for a massive government-backed expansion of 'talking therapies', campaigners fear a whole new class of vulnerable patients is emerging.

While NHS psychiatrists like Kerr and Haslam were at least regulated by the General Medical Council, the growing army of counsellors, therapists, healers and alternative medicine practitioners are not. There is no register they can be struck off, no professional code to break, no way for the GMC to rule on their competence or ethics. Yet they have intimate access to vulnerable, distressed and damaged people. Campaigners says this gives rise to a grey area which serves neither patients nor reputable practioners. The case reported in The Observer today of alternative practitioner the Barefoot Doctor, who has been forced to defend himself on his website against allegations of inappropriate relationships, illustrates this.

The Department of Health will shortly unveil plans for a massive overhaul of medical regulation, including the long-term creation of a 'level playing field' for alternative practitioners. The move follows concerns that some psychiatrists subject to GMC investigation simply reinvent themselves as unregulated therapists, while patient groups argue that any unqualified individual can currently call themselves a counsellor.

Nearly half the complaints received by Witness, which represents patients alleging sexual abuse, involve unregulated practitioners. Director Jonathan Coe estimates there are 100,000 people offering so-called 'talking therapies' nationwide: 'Anyone can put a plaque on the door and start seeing vulnerable people. That has to change.'

Yet the recent history even of regulated professions suggests too often patients were betrayed. The public inquiry report into Kerr and Haslam is one of four sitting on the desk of Health Minister Andy Burnham, beside those into serial killer and GP Harold Shipman; the gynaecologist Clifford Ayling, who sexually assaulted patients for decades in Kent, and the surgeon Richard Neale, struck off in Canada following a patient's death but allowed to practise in his native Britain.

The four cases are very different, but what they have in common is the devastation visited on patients and families, the profound deafness of medical professionals to complaints about colleagues and the repression of NHS whistleblowers. What shines through is the ease with which the deep trust placed in doctors was breached.

For solicitor Sarah Harman, the sheer avoidability of the suffering is the worst thing. After nearly 30 years of complaints against Ayling, none of which were seriously pursued, the final indignity was the General Medical Council's decision to let him continue practising while under investigation for sexual misconduct. Seven women reported being assaulted during that time. 'I acted for women who had been abused many years ago. They felt angry that their complaints were not heeded. They couldn't believe so many women were making the same complaints,' Harman, the sister of Harriet Harman, the Constitutional Affairs Minister, says.

Perhaps the most startling failure to act, according to the independent inquiry into the Ayling case, came in 1980 when a nursing sister, Penny Moore, allegedly caught the gynaecologist masturbating over a patient. Moore banned him from the antenatal clinic at Thanet Hospital, Kent, and told the woman's consultant, who promised Ayling would be referred to a psychiatrist.

But the police were not involved and there is no evidence that anything was done. When, some time later, Moore discovered Ayling was to be allowed back on the ward and protested, she was told by a consultant 'not to question a fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists'.

Yet the evidence kept piling up. The same year a patient's husband complained of 'sadistic' treatment, saying Ayling appeared to enjoy giving the woman a rough internal examination. Hospital staff refused to be treated by him for their own pregnancies. There were repeated complaints of uncomfortable deliveries, lingering too long over intimate examinations, inappropriate sexual remarks and offering to sew patients up 'nice and tight' after episiotomies. He was eventually sacked in 1987 for injuring a baby during a Caesarean but got a job in Thanet's colposcopy clinic, which performs invasive tests on the vagina and uterus, instead.

A year later a woman escorting her teenage daughter to his clinic reported Ayling for rubbing himself up against the girl. His contract was not renewed, but no connection was made with the fact that Ayling had also worked as a GP since 1981. He continued to do so, triggering further complaints of unnecessary vaginal and breast examinations. Patients who queried him were told they could die of cancer if they did not submit and Harman argues he often treated women who had little other choice.

'He dealt with army wives who didn't know the area. He took on women who were not seen by other practices because they were drug users. He over-examined them and frightened them by saying that they needed tests every three months, which they didn't.'

A neighbouring GP, to whom some of Ayling's patients defected, was worried enough to raise the allegations with Ayling, who denied any wrongdoing. After similar complaints emerged at another hospital employing him, an inquiry began in 1993 but Ayling continued to do locum work. Finally in 1998 the health authority received a complaint of indecent assault and involved the GMC: he was arrested shortly afterwards.

Two decades after Penny Moore's challenge, Ayling was sentenced to four years for indecent assault. He was out of jail before the inquiry's findings were published, protesting his innocence. Nonetheless around 30 of Harman's clients successfully sued for compensation.

Meanwhile Moore, the unsung heroine of the inquiry, is said to remain distressed that she could not do more to help. It is a feeling Lin Bigwood would recognise. The former deputy sister at Clifton Hospital now lives quietly in the West Country, her career never having recovered from confronting Kerr.

In 1983 a psychiatric patient told Bigwood she had had an affair with Kerr, and that he had sex with others too. The nurse spent five years fighting for an inquiry into his behaviour. For her pains, she was demoted, while Kerr retired in 1988 with a glowing letter of thanks. The professionals had again closed ranks.

Haq says that, while attitudes now have changed dramatically from the 'old school tie' days of doctors arrogantly defending colleagues they trained with, the culture has not entirely disappeared. 'At the time a lot of them were public schoolboys, now we have got comprehensive school lads coming through. But there's still a tendency to protect your colleagues.'

She was one of 15 women who eventually went to court in 2000 - although Kerr, suffering from a degenerative brain disease, did not undergo a standard trial. He was found guilty on one of 19 counts of indecent assault, with the rest either ruled not proven or allowed to lie in record when the jury could not decide. Kerr was placed on the sex offenders' register and subsequently died. Haslam, charged after this trial ended, was sentenced to three years.

The subsequent inquiry found what it called an 'unhealthy' culture of professionals reluctant to act against each other, with patients routinely disbelieved. It recommended more collation of 'soft' evidence - concerns falling short of official complaints - and research into sexualised doctor-patient relationships. The Ayling report recommended offering chaperones for intimate examinations, and better co-ordination of separate complaints.

Both were investigating offences dating back to an era of old-fashioned deference to doctors. Yet the Kerr/Haslam inquiry concluded that, even by 2005, too little had changed: 'Substantial risks remain that patients or staff who raise concerns will not be heard... we are not persuaded that their concerns will even now be speedily and appropriately addressed.' Could it happen still?

Jonathan Coe argues it is. His organisation, Witness, receives around 100 direct reports of abuse annually, a caseload dominated by obstetricians and gynaecologists - whose consultations are uniquely intimate - and psychiatrists, whose power to section patients gives them an unusual hold over potential victims. 'I have met women who came forward and were encouraged not to say anything,' he says. 'They were told, "It won't be good for your mental health if you raise this".'

And even when patients persevere, it is usually their word against a doctor's. Which is why Witness has campaigned for a civil standard of proof in GMC cases - on the balance of probabilities - not the tougher criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt. The change was backed by Dame Janet Smith's inquiry into Shipman, and by the government's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson.

But it is fiercely opposed by the British Medical Association, which argues it has compelling reasons for objecting: when Maria Marchese claimed the psychiatrist who treated her partner had raped her, she seemed to have cast-iron proof - traces of the doctor's DNA on her underwear. Dr Jan Falkowski was suspended and told he faced prosecution. He lost private patients and friends, while his relationship with his fiancee foundered under the strain of constant menacing text messages from his so-called victim.

But all was not as it seemed. Marchese was recently jailed for nine years after a court heard she bombarded the couple with death threats - including threatening to kill guests at their wedding. As for the supposed DNA evidence, she had fabricated it using a condom stolen from Falkowski's dustbin.

The case illustrates the risks for some doctors working with disturbed women. Although Coe argues that the false accusation rate is only about 2 per cent, undeniably some practitioners face malicious complaints threatening their livelihoods and liberty. The BMA argues that lowering the burden of proof would mean dangerous miscarriages of justice.

Caught in the middle of this passionate debate is Finlay Scott, the softly spoken chief executive of the GMC. He gave evidence to all four inquiries, and says quietly that their stories stayed with him: 'Talking to the victims of Kerr and Haslam was a profoundly moving and distressing experience. It is undeniable they were let down by the system - not narrowly by the GMC, but by the whole regulatory system.'

For, as Scott points out, in too many cases doctors and local health authorities did not bother contacting the GMC even as the complaints stacked up. It was repeatedly involved only at the eleventh hour, something Donaldson wants to change by putting GMC affiliates into local NHS organisations.

The vast majority of doctors, Scott argues, are competent and caring, but nonetheless he backs a shift in the burden of proof, although he thinks this should vary according to the gravity of the crime. 'If you are contemplating taking away a doctor's livelihood, then you have to be sure of your facts. On the other hand if you are proposing restrictions on a doctor's practice - that they will not undertake a particular kind of procedure - you can be more flexible.'

The GMC has already moved to defuse criticism by publishing proposals for reform, including appointing an equal number of lay and medical members to investigative panels and a tougher code of conduct. That appears to be enough to avert threats to abolish the GMC. But it still faces criticism over past failings especially in cases such as that of Richard Neale, a British doctor struck off in Canada in 1985 after a pregnant woman whose birth he had induced died. Neale returned to England and a consultant job in Northallerton, Yorkshire: although a subsequent inquiry found the GMC was informed of the Canadian conviction in 1985. In 1988 it was uncovered during routine checks after Neale applied to become a police surgeon, yet the GMC did nothing to stop him practising.

As Donaldson concluded in a review last July, Neale was shown an 'inexplicable degree of leniency'. He was only exposed when newspapers heard of the Canadian death.

Better patient protection in future, Scott argues, may lie in tying regulation to risk. If it knew where rogue doctors were most likely to emerge, the GMC could concentrate its efforts. The other priority is encouraging patients to stand up for themselves. Haq is helping the Committee for Health Regulatory Excellence to compile advice for patients on what constitutes doctors overstepping the mark. While she does not believe abuse could now happen on the scale it did in Yorkshire, she says it will always continue. 'There are rogue doctors and rogue nurses out there. Hopefully the work we are doing will make people aware that this is not acceptable.'

More sensitive handling of victims could also, Coe argues, encourage them to come forward. One woman Witness recently supported through a GMC case was left alone in a room during the hearing, where the accused doctor approached her to her terror. Harman, however, sounds a note of genuine optimism. Last year she represented a group of women sueing neurologist Dr Brian Phillips over claims he groped them during routine examinations. Although he was acquitted in court, the GMC struck him off for indecency.

The contrast between the cases of Ayling and Phillips convinced her that the GMC has genuinely changed, she says. 'They realised the way they dealt with Ayling was not approriate, and all credit to Ayling's former patients for that. I do feel positive.'

When ministers publish their conclusions shortly, women nationwide will see whether that hope is justified.

The accused men

William Kerr and Michael Haslam

A 2005 government inquiry found the two NHS consultants sexually assaulted at least 77 of their patients over a 20-year period. According to the inquiry, Kerr had raped or molested at least 67 women between 1965 and 1988. Thirty-eight of the women complained to nurses and 11 GPs but were dismissed as 'fantasists'.

Michael Haslam was jailed for three years in 2003, after being found guilty of four charges of indecent assault on three patients between 1981 and 1988. William Kerr was deemed unfit to stand trial for health reasons.

Clifford Ayling

The Kent GP molested dozens of victims over 30 years. Concerns were first raised in 1975, but he continued working until 2000. He was jailed for four years in 2000 after being convicted of 13 counts of indecent assault on patients between 1991 and 1998.

Richard Neale

Consultant gynaecologist Neale botched operations on women that left them in constant pain, incontinent or unable to bear children. He was struck off the medical register in Canada in 1985, following the deaths of two patients, but was allowed to work in the UK until 1999. He was struck off the UK medical register in 2000. He was arrested and then bailed in 2006, as part of an ongoing police inquiry.

Which doctors might turn rogue?

Some doctors present a far higher risk than others of turning rogue, according to the anecdotal evidence of the head of the General Medical Council's Fitness to Practise Panel.

Defendants are significantly more likely to be male than female. Although half of junior doctors and a majority of medical students are now female, chief executive Finlay Scott said the caseload is disproportionately male.

Doctors who trained and qualified abroad also face proportionately more complaints, although it is not clear whether foreign doctors are less competent, or just less likely to be protected by any old boys' network. 'We do not have a complete answer,' said Scott.

Cases are disproportionately likely to involve doctors working in obstetrics and gynaecology, general practice and certain specialist branches of surgery.

The GMC, which handles about 150 cases a year, regulates on behalf of patients, maintains a register of trained doctors and is largely funded by their professional fees. Nurses and midwives have their own body, the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Teen Girl Under Psych Care Confined to Bedroom for Months.

A teenage girl under psychiatric care was confined to her upstairs bedroom for months because her stepmother believed she was “bad” and required her “to be good” for two straight days before lifting the punishment. As seen here.

A teenage girl was confined to her upstairs bedroom for months because her stepmother believed she was “bad” and required her “to be good” for two straight days before lifting the punishment, a sibling told police.

The child’s Jan. 12 account of how Clint and Lynn Engstrom treated the 13-year-old girl helped convince a judge to issue a search warrant for the Engstrom’s home later that day, according to court records. The couple was charged Jan. 16 with one count each of causing mental harm to a child, a felony punishable by up to 12½ years in prison.

Lynn Engstrom, the girl’s stepmother, acknowledged to investigators that the girl had been “grounded” in her room for months. The girl’s plight came to light after her parents took her to an Appleton hospital because she was hearing voices and pulling out her hair.

Search warrant records say an anonymous caller contacted Winnebago County child protective services about the girl’s situation and a social services worker contacted police Jan. 12, leading to the interview with the sibling and the search warrant request.

The caller reported the girl “had anger episodes that her parents could not deal with any longer so they started to keep in her room all day and night,” court records said.

The caller told police the parents felt they weren’t doing anything wrong and claimed they were following a doctor’s orders.

Lynn Engstrom’s attorney, Joseph Hildebrand, said Friday the parents took the girl to the Appleton hospital Jan. 5 on the advice of a psychiatrist she had been seeing for a year and a half. The psychiatrist recommended the family get a second opinion about her care, he said. Once at the hospital, the girl was admitted.

“It is false that she was locked into a room,” Hildebrand said. “She is a troubled child who needs help.”

Hildebrand said the girl saw a special education teacher through the public schools in Oshkosh two or three times a week “through most of December.” He called the charges against the parents unfair, saying the case is “making a mountain out of a molehill.”

John Sprangers, personnel director for the Oshkosh Area School District, has said the girl re-enrolled in the school system on Dec. 11. Police have said the girl attended a church school in Oshkosh until last June.

A hearing before Winnebago County Court Commissioner Daniel Bissett is scheduled Tuesday for prosecutors to justify the charges. Dist. Atty. Christian Gossett said the girl would testify.

The parents remain in jail, unable to post $25,000 cash bails.

According to court records, the girl’s younger stepbrother — one of three other children in the Engstrom home — told police the teenager had been kept in her room about 19 hours a day for months for lying and other behavior, such as spitting in his mother’s food.

He said his mom said the teen “is bad and has to go two days straight of being good before she can come out of her room or have other privileges like TV,” court records said.

The sibling said he only got to see the girl when she went to the bathroom, occasionally joined them at the dinner table or was taken to the doctor, court records said.

He told a police detective that he wasn’t allowed to go in the girl’s spartan, “boring” room to play with her.

The boy told police the girl would be spanked with a wooden spoon kept in the kitchen if she left the room for anything other than going to the bathroom, court records said.

The boy also said his stepsister had gone to Grace Lutheran School until the sixth grade but didn’t return this fall because she “made his mom sad by telling teachers and other people at school that she wasn’t her real mom and that she was a bad mom,” court records said.

In another development Friday, Hildebrand said the Engstroms received an eviction notice. Their landlord is seeking about $4,700 in back rent, court records said.

“They cannot afford to pay it, and they are not earning any money,” Hildebrand said.
Of Course (as noted above), the child was under the care of a psychiatrist for over a year and a half. The psychiatrist has issued a statement saying in part:
"Our staff has never recommended or condoned the confining of a child in a locked room and the depriving of necessary nourishment, clothing, heat, bathroom facilities, education or social interaction for a child. Such treatment of a child is absolutely reprehensible."
Our question is,

How did it happen that it took this long to find out what was going on?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Controversial Quebec psychiatrist suspended for over-prescribing meds

As seen in the Canadian Press

A controversial psychiatrist has been temporarily suspended by the Quebec College of Physicians for over-prescribing medication to two patients.

The college said Thursday that Dr. Pierre Mailloux over-prescribed anti-psychotic drugs to the patients at a hospital in the Trois-Rivieres area, midway between Montreal and Quebec City.

His unprofessional conduct on his radio phone-in show also was mentioned.

The written decision noted Mailloux, commonly known as “Doc,” put the “protection of the public in danger” by his medical conduct and his psychiatric advice.

Mailloux is a well-known figure in Quebec with his radio phone-in program, drawing in legions of listeners daily who hear the problems - medical, psychiatric and personal - of callers as he dispenses his opinions and advice.

He has caused controversy in the past for comments he made about the intelligence level of blacks. He has also suggested a form of castration of some sex offenders.

During the suspension, Mailloux won’t be able to prescribe drugs or bill the province’s medical insurance board for services.

Mailloux said he plans to appeal the decision.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Psychologist 'forced bulimic client to wear dog collar'

From Austrailia's

A leading Perth psychologist forced his bulimic client to wear a dog collar, sexually assaulted her and whipped her with a wire coathanger and cat o'nine tails, saying it was part of a new treatment, a Perth court was told yesterday.

Bruce Beaton, 64, was arrested after police set up secret recordings of him with his 22-year-old alleged victim on the phone and placed a hidden camera in the woman's bag during one of their appointments.

The District Court was told yesterday that police, waiting outside Mr Beaton's office in 2005, intervened after hearing whipping noises coming from inside. Mr Beaton, an expert in treating patients with eating disorders, has pleaded not guilty to allegations he sexually assaulted and humiliated the patient in 2005 during a number of therapy sessions.

Giving evidence yesterday, the woman, now 24, said Mr Beaton told her bulimia was about control and she needed to learn discipline.

"I'd have to obey every order that he gives and present myself the way he says," the woman said.

She said she was often told to take her clothes off during her therapy sessions but when she refused to remove her underwear she was beaten with a wire coathanger. She said he had asked her about boyfriends, relationships and her sexual fantasies.

Prosecutor Amanda Forrester said police became involved after the woman made a complaint, the day after being forced to lie naked on a couch in Mr Beaton's Fremantle clinic, where he performed sex acts on her.

The trial continues today.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Trial of Psychiatrist Continues - Damning Testimony

As reported by the Times and Star

A Doctor told a court how a psychiatrist, accused of the manslaughter of a patient, gave the impression that the overdose which proved to be lethal was "not significant".

Charles Brett also said he did not know Peter Fisher was unregistered, adding he would not let such a person work in his department at Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital.

Fisher, 46, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court where he denies the manslaughter of patient Peter Weighman through gross negligence on September 23, 2002.

The Whitehaven handyman died after taking an overdose of 50 coproxamol tablets at the hospital’s Yewdale ward.

Despite being told Mr Weighman had taken the tablets, Fisher, who now lives in Devon, left him overnight without any treatment.

Mr Brett, a consultant in the hospital’s accident and emergency department, said he saw Fisher in his ward looking at a paracetamol poisoning chart before the death.

“He indicated to me that he was looking at a paracetamol chart because he was seeing a patient who alleged he had taken an overdose of coproxamol,” he told the court.

Mr Brett told the jury how he had seen people stop breathing 30 minutes after taking such an overdose.

The consultant said he warned Fisher of the "extreme dangers" of one of the drugs making up coproxamol.

“At the end of the discussion, I was given the clear impression this was a patient who had not really taken a significant overdose, but was saying so for manipulative means,” he added.

Alistair Webb QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Brett if he knew Fisher was not registered.

The court previously heard how Fisher had just returned to the UK from New Zealand but had withdrawn his membership of the General Medical Council in 1986.

Mr Brett replied: “No. We don’t allow unregistered doctors to work in any sense within the emergency department. If I found out someone was working without registration we would not be happy to allow that.”

Tim Holroyde, QC, defending, said the circumstances of the overdose and death were unusual. He pointed out that Mr Weighman was seen by staff at accident and emergency 90 minutes after he said he had overdosed.

He had left the Yewdale ward an hour after taking the pills and bought some sweets from the hospital shop on the way.

Mr Holroyde added that most people who died of coproxamol overdoses had done so before they reached hospital because the onset was so rapid.

The trial continues.

DHS seeking to remove ex-psychiatrist from trust control

From Fox23 in Tulsa

The Department of Human Services wants a Tulsa County judge to take control of a 2.5 million dollar trust away from a former psychiatrist.

DHS officials filed a request last month to remove Carl R. Peterson as trustee of the account he created with his wife, Martha Peterson, in 1996.

In 2005, DHS became guardian over Martha Peterson after allegations arose that her husband was repeatedly drugging her with psychotropic medicine.

DHS officials say Carl Peterson abused his fiduciary duties by transferring the title to the trust's assets into his individual name. They say the trust was funded with property Martha Peterson acquired before she was married.

Martha Peterson was a regular guest on Christian television shows in the 1970s and '80s and had her own one-hour show broadcast from Tulsa in 1982.

Carl Peterson couldn't be reached for comment.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Parents say psychiatrist agreed with confinement

Another report from Wisconsin on this sad case Unfortunately, the proof of the allegations are tied up in claims of patient confidentiality. And sometimes, reports of the most outrageous crimes are not believed because they are so outrageous. Here we have a situation where patient confidentialtiy could be used to cover up a crime.

Clint and Lynn Engstrom told police they were acting under a doctor's supervision when they installed an alarm system on their daughter's bedroom door and confined her to her room.

The Engstroms allegedly locked their 13-year-old daughter in her room for 22 hours a day for nearly two years as punishment for misbehaving, but doctors say regardless of a child's behavior, that type of punishment is not appropriate.

"I can't image anyone would recommend this kind of treatment for any child," said Dr. Karin Suesser, a psychologist with Aurora Medical Group. "Either they misunderstood what was said or they were just flat out lying. But I can't think of any reason why anyone would say, 'Yeah, this is a good idea.'"

Clint Engstrom, 32, and Lynn Engstrom, 35, were charged last week in Winnebago County Circuit Court with causing mental harm to a child, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 12 years and six months in prison and a $25,000 fine.

In the criminal complaint, Lynn Engstrom told detectives the girl was allowed to leave her room for meals, to go to the bathroom and complete chores.

Lynn Engstrom told police there were times she and Clint Engstrom questioned what they were doing, but the psychiatrist treating the girl told them not to give in.

Clint Engstrom told detectives that he installed an alarm on the girl's bedroom door because they had problems with the girl sneaking out of her room to eat candy or watch TV. He said the alarm was a suggestion the psychiatrist made, the complaint states.

The psychiatrist named by the Engstroms issued a statement declining comment based on patient confidentiality.

"Our clinic has a history of working with the court system and local law enforcement," the statement said. "However, based on patient confidentiality, the release of information needs to be done in accordance with Wisconsin and federal rules and rules set up by the court."

Health professionals said the girl may be able to reverse some of the effects of her ordeal if she gets professional counseling.

"The most important thing for her is to be able to talk and have other people validate that this is not her fault and she didn't do anything wrong," Suesser said. "She's still young enough that she can catch up. It's not necessarily damage for life, but it can be. It depends on what happens from here on."

But even with help, she may still feel the effects throughout the rest of her life.

Baron Perlman, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, said the girl is at an increased risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal behavior, an eating disorder or depression.

"You don't know. People are very resilient and significant others might make a difference," Perlman said. "The situation is horrific by any perception or definition."

Despite public shock at the way the girl allegedly was treated, Perlman said incidents of this sort are more common that people think.

"Anyone working for a social services or child welfare department in the state will tell you this happens," Perlman said. "But this is the end of the scale. This is more dramatic."

For now, the focus needs to be on getting the girl who survived the ordeal the professional help she needs in order to overcome the abuse and regain some sense of normalcy.

"She's going to need professional intervention, significant others there for her in positive ways and luck," Perlman said.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Naturalness of DayDreaming

Daydreaming is often taken as a symptom of ADD/ADHD. But now a scientific study suggests that daydreaming is natural, and in fact is healthy. So instead of being diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or AHDH or whatever, maybe the correct diagnosis is "AHH". Don't need any drugs for that.

After all these years of diagnosing a disease, some basic scientific research suggests the condition is normal. Who would have thought?As seen on Live Science

Bored out of your skull is a reality. A new study of mind wandering shows that the mundane moments of life allow brains to shift into a default resting state that invites daydreaming.

Some psychologists had suggested that mind wandering could be the brain’s baseline, a place of flitting thoughts from which a person must wrench away for challenging work.

The new study agrees and looks deeply into the neural mechanics behind this common and sometimes happy affliction.

The findings also offer a solution to those who need to snap to. Rather than muscle-fatiguing efforts to focus, just try switching to more engaging work, said neuroscientist Malia Mason, lead author of the new work.

How does the mind wander into the la-la-land state we all drop into when the brain spontaneously generates a stream of voices, images, thoughts and feelings?

To find out, Mason, then at Dartmouth College, and her colleagues imaged the brains of a small group of participants performing simple, practiced tasks as well as more challenging, novel activities. The tasks required subjects to recall and manipulate four 4-letter sequences and four finger-tapping patterns.

At random intervals the scientists interrupted participants and asked if they had had any “irrelevant thoughts.”

They found that during practiced tasks, the participants showed increased activity in certain regions of the brain’s cortex, or the outer layer of grey matter that covers the surface of the brain. When these daydream brain regions lit up, the participants also reported the highest levels of irrelevant thoughts.

Not all minds wander to the same extent. Individuals who showed more blood flow in the default brain regions also reported more stray thoughts.

Now the scientists want to know why these unfocused thoughts occur at all. One idea is that daydreaming allows a person to stay only as alert as they need be during mundane tasks. The flitting thoughts could also serve as a “spontaneous mental time travel,” which helps to thread together a person’s past, present and future experiences, suggest the researchers.

Of course, there’s one more possibility. Perhaps, the scientists wrote in the journal Science, “the mind may wander simply because it can.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Psychiatrist under Investigation

From the News and Star

A Cumbrian psychiatrist is being investigated by the General Medical Council, it has been revealed.

The probe, announced on Monday, will look into the competency of Mohamad Ahmad Mustapha.

The psychiatrist, who lived in staff accommodation in Carlisle, worked for the local mental health trust.

He practiced in the Kendal area up until six months ago, when concerns about his competency were raised.

Back then he worked for the Morecambe Bay trust, which recently merged with north Cumbria to form the Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust.

A spokeswoman for the trust, which is based at Carlisle’s Carleton Clinic, said Mr Mustapha is no longer employed by them.

She explained that, after concerns arose, the organisation started a formal process to assess his capability.

This resulted in his case being referred to the GMC. He has not worked as a psychiatrist for six months.

The GMC has now imposed restrictions on Mr Mustapha’s registration until June 2008, pending the outcome of the investigation.

No further details about the circumstances surrounding Mr Mustapha’s case have been made public.

The detailed conditions imposed by the GMC panel say Mr Mustapha must:

  • Notify the GMC promptly of any professional appointment he accepts for which registration is required
  • Inform the GMC of any formal disciplinary proceedings taken against him, or if he applies for employment outside the UK
  • Confine his medical practice to NHS training posts at Senior House Officer level or below, where he will be supervised by a named consultant
  • Not work as a locum or undertake any out-of-hours work or on-call duties
  • Inform any employers and prospective employers of the conditions

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Drug death doctor not registered (not licensed)

As reported by the BBC

A psychiatrist accused of the manslaughter of a suicidal patient was not registered (i.e. licensed), a court has heard.

Peter Fisher, 46, is accused of killing Peter Weighman, 39, who died from a drugs overdose at West Cumberland Infirmary in September 2002.

Dr Fisher of Cullompton, Devon, denies manslaughter through gross negligence.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how he was not registered to work in the UK and could only work abroad under supervision after an investigation.

On the first day of the trial on Tuesday, the court heard how Dr Fisher was in charge of the mental health ward where Mr Weighman, of Duke Street, Whitehaven, was being treated for depression.

'Lack of initiative'

Alistair Webster, prosecuting, said Dr Fisher failed to prevent the death of the father-of-two, who swallowed 50 tablets of coproxamol.

Mr Webster said: "He was guilty of gross negligence and his lack of care was criminal and was a significant cause leading to this man's death."

The defendant, who registered with the General Medical Council in 1985, worked in Merseyside before he moved to New Zealand in 1992 where he worked as a psychiatric medical officer.

In May 2002 concerns were raised about his "lack of initiative" and the Medical Council of New Zealand recommended that he should not be allowed to practise without "strict supervision".

'Admin hiccup'

However, before the recommendations were made, Dr Fisher returned to the UK where he was no longer registered and became a locum psychiatrist at West Cumberland.

He told his employer an "admin hiccup" had delayed his re-registration with the GMC.

Mr Webster said: "Here was a doctor with years of experience. The only fly in the ointment was that he was not registered in Britain."

On the day Mr Weighman took his overdose, he was found in a drowsy state at the hospital.

But Dr Fisher failed to recommend a relevant test and that he be observed more closely by the nightshift staff.

The trial is expected to last for up to six weeks.

Former psychiatrist caught after holiday crime spree

More on the now infamous Lyndon Steinhaus, and Darcy Bogenrief, as seen here

A former psychiatrist from Thiensville and his girlfriend face a laundry list of charges, mostly in Wyoming.

Lyndon Steinhaus, 47, and Darcy Bogenrief, 41, are in jail in Brownsville, Tenn., but only after a two-week holiday manhunt that reportedly included drunk driving in Canada, the trashing of a hotel room in South Dakota, and leaving behind a BMW in Montana as bond. They’ll be extradited to Gillette, Wyo., for a court hearing late next month.

For starters, Steinhaus is charged in Ozaukee County with stealing his ex-wife’s identity to open bank accounts, get credit cards, and buy jewelry. It was apparently in retaliation, after she tried to make him pay child support.

In Wyoming, he and Bogenrief face similar identity theft charges after he became a child psychologist there. Authorities said Steinhaus prescribed extra Ritalin that apparently made its way to methamphetamine users.

They were finally caught when they tried to get an advance on their tax returns, and the Internal Revenue Service flagged them as being wanted.

Bogenrief is an attorney, and her mother said she has a serious mental condition.

Steinhaus was a psychiatrist for years in southeast Wisconsin, specializing in treatment for alcohol and other drugs. But officials said he struggled with abuse himself. He still faces a third drunk driving charge from last June in Milwaukee County.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Texarkana psychiatrist arrested

As seen in the Texarkana Gazette

Local psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Seward was arrested Sunday on two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of theft of a firearm, according to court documents.

“I’d really rather not make any comment other than it’s just a misunderstanding,” Seward said. “I’m not guilty.”

A Texarkana, Texas, Police Department spokesman referred inquiries to the Bowie County District Attorney’s office.

The DA’s office will review the case before making a decision on whether to formally charge Seward.

Seward used a local bail bondsman to facilitate his release, court documents show. Bail amounts on the three criminal counts were $10,000 for the firearm theft and $20,000 each for the drug charges. Bowie County Justice of the Peace John Carson, Precinct 1, set the bail.

Seward, 45, graduated from Texas Tech medical school and has been practicing psychiatry for 16 years. He contracts with Northeast Texas Sabine Valley mental health center.

The doctor works with mentally ill and developmentally challenged clients.

The mental health agency was unaware of Seward’s arrest until contacted by the Gazette for information regarding his employment status.

“Dr. Seward is an independent contractor whose contract with Sabine Valley Center requires that he report arrests for the charges you list,” Marilyn Wyman, a human resources director with the center, said in an e-mail. “He has been taken off the clinic schedule pending resolution of the charges. He will not receive pay.”

Seward’s car, a Lexus, was stolen the day before his arrest in an area known for drug activity, records show. He declined to comment about his vehicle.

Psychiatrist Accused Of Sexual Misconduct With Patients

Reported by WSB-TV Atlanta

There is also this extended report, as well as this

A Tuscaloosa psychiatrist has been banned from practicing medicine in the state after allegations of sexual misconduct with at least four of his patients.

Allie Boyd's medical license was revoked when the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners ruled on Jan. 4 that he engaged in unprofessional conduct that was "immoral, willful, and shameful" and goes against the Medical Licensure Commission's rules.

Five former patients filed suit against Boyd in May 2005, claiming sexual harassment during his care at North Harbor Pavilion, at the Tuscaloosa Treatment Center and his private residence.

Telesa Dent Morrison, Dianna Marie Spencer, Diane Cannon Watkins, Jeremy Franklin and Marcus W. Skelton filed lawsuits against Boyd, alleging that he made inappropriate sexual advances, offered prescription medication for sexual favors and, in some cases, groped them.

The suit also states that Boyd threatened to withdraw prescription medications from the patients if they did not keep the events secret.

The Tuscaloosa News reported on the incident in a story for Friday's editions. Boyd's attorney, Robert Coleman, did not immediately return calls from the paper.

Boyd sent a letter to his patients Wednesday, stating that he is retiring.

"After over 30 years in the practice of medicine, and due to recent personal health issues, I find it necessary for me to retire," the letter said. "This retirement is effective immediately."

Justice Smyth, who represents the patients, said Boyd is not facing any criminal charges but that could change if one of his previous patients makes a complaint to the district attorney.

DCH Healthcare, which runs North Harbor, is named as a defendant in two of the suits.

Spokesman Bernard Grappe said DCH first learned about the complaints through a letter from Smyth in September 2004, and Boyd was immediately placed on temporary suspension. The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners was also notified at that time.

State and Federal Government Accuse Local Psychiatrist of Fraud

From WDEF in Chatanooga, Tennessee

The federal and state governments are working together to get their money back from a local psychiatrist.

They've filed a joint lawsuit against Dr. Gulshan Sultan who has an office in Cleveland.

The suit alleges she made false claims on services to both Medicaid and TennCare.

It says she filed more than 200 bogus claims of face-to-face meetings, and even booked more than 24 hours of services in one day.

Dr. Sultan has previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges of false billing for psychiatric services perfomed by her nurse.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

CIA thought Cameron's techniques could be useful in the Cold War

From the Montreal Gazette

Ewen Cameron, the man behind the brainwashing experiments, was a Scottish-born psychiatrist who worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital and McGill's Allan Memorial Institute.

From 1950 to 1965 he subjected hundreds of patients at the Allan Memorial to unorthodox treatment involving LSD, huge doses of electroshock, drug-induced comas and tapes that they sometimes listened to for weeks at time. One woman received the treatment through most of her pregnancy.

Funding came from the Canadian government and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency as part of a project called MK-ULTRA. In that Cold War era, the spy agency thought these techniques might be useful against the Soviet Union - perhaps LSD could be used as a truth serum, brainwashing drug or incapacitating agent, given to prisoners or foreign leaders like Cuba's Fidel Castro.

In the late 1980s, the CIA made an out-of-court settlement with a handful of victims. In 1994, 77 of the patients who received the most severe treatment were given $100,000 each in compensation from the federal government but 254 had their claims rejected.

An appeal court gave one of them $100,000 in 2004.

Cameron died in 1967.

Jackson psychiatrist accused of fraud pays settlement

From WMC-TV 5 out of Memphis, Tennessee

A Jackson psychiatrist has agreed to pay 216-thousand dollars to settle allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud after a multiyear investigation concluded.

The U-S Attorney's Office alleges that Doctor Viacin Faeza Jones misused billing codes and billed Medicare and Medicaid for excessive numbers of patients per day. A U-S Department of Justice release says that Jones billed for treating up to 116 patients in a single day and was paid about 30 to 125 dollars from Medicare or Medicaid for each claim.

The 216-thousand dollar settlement represents repayment for the wrongfully obtained funds, plus penalties in excess of 100-thousand dollars.

3rd time is charm for psychiatrist and girlfriend

From the Gillete News Record

Lyndon Steinhaus and Darcy Bogenrief were able to dodge fate once. They were even able to do it a second time.

But three times turned out to be pushing their luck too far.

That's how many times law enforcement caught up with the on-the-run former Campbell County Memorial Hospital psychiatrist and his live-in girlfriend before the couple was held for good.

Steinhaus and Bogenrief, 46 and 41 respectively, were originally arrested in November after they allegedly tried to use the identity of Steinhaus' ex-wife to order jewelry, pay off overdue debt and make bank transfers. The couple made an initial appearance in Circuit Court in December on charges of identity theft and conspiracy to commit identity theft and were released on bond.

Soon afterward, deputies tried to serve Steinhaus with an eviction notice for the hospital-leased apartment he and Bogenrief had been living in, hospital lawyer Tom Lubnau said Thursday at a Circuit Court eviction hearing.

Bogenrief, an Illinois lawyer, had asked for permission to spend Christmas in Mound City, S.D., but neither she nor Steinhaus were where they said they'd be.

Several days before Christmas, deputies tracked Steinhaus down at a Belle Fourche, S.D., motel room, Lubnau said. However, the psychiatrist skipped town before they were able to serve him with the eviction notice.

“Mr. Steinhaus was on the lam and in violation of his bond at that point,” Lubnau noted at Thursday's hearing.

The couple popped up again Dec. 23 when they tried to cross the Canadian border near Shelby, Mont., Lubnau said. Canadian authorities noticed that Bogenrief was drunk, searched the couple's car and found the Campbell County bond papers.

The Canadians detained the couple and notified Shelby and Campbell County authorities, at which point Bogenrief was also arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, Lubnau said.

Steinhaus was released on bond, he said. However, Campbell County faxed Shelby a new warrant against Steinhaus for prescription drug fraud, and they rearrested him and then released him on a $10,000 bond.

Steinhaus was scheduled to appear for a hearing to determine whether to extradite him back to Wyoming, Lubnau said. But he never showed at the hearing.

Brownsville, Tenn., police came across the couple Thursday for the third - and final - time. Officers stopped the couple on suspicion of reckless driving, and their names popped up on a national crime database, said Brownsville Assistant Chief Johnny Blackburn. The couple has waived extradition back to Wyoming, he said.

Campbell County Investigator Duane Peyrot said Bogenrief and Steinhaus are now being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond.

Meanwhile, Steinhaus is facing added drug charges locally, with the possibility of federal drug charges.

The state Pharmacy Board's records show that Steinhaus wrote about two dozen separate prescriptions to Bogenrief between May 18 and Nov. 27. The prescriptions were for methylin and methylphenidate hydrochloride, which are generics for the attention deficit disorder drug Ritalin.

In all, Steinhaus allegedly issued about 3,000 tablets, or about 64,800 milligrams of the drugs, according to court documents. If Bogenrief had taken the maximum recommended dosage every one of the 193 days between May 18 and Nov. 27, that would have totaled only 11,580 milligrams.

Steinhaus is now charged with 27 counts of unlawfully dispensing a controlled substance.

Peyrot and Lubnau said investigators also were told about a package of prescription drugs that was mailed to Steinhaus' workspace from Pakistan. Hospital staff notified Campbell County investigators about the package soon after.

Peyrot did not want to comment on the details of that case because it is international in nature and could eventually be turned over to another agency.

Magistrate Kenneth DeCock agreed at Thursday's hearing that deputies and the hospital could go ahead and kick Steinhaus out of the hospital-leased apartment.

Hospital Interim CEO Andy Fitzgerald said the hospital fired Steinhaus in November but gave him until Dec. 15 to move out. When they checked the apartment after his arrest, though, they found the “significant damage to every room in the house, including the furniture.”

“I just, assumed, being a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, that he would clearly move out when he indicated he would,” Fitzgerald said.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bad SLS Health

The Bad SLS Heath weblog is dedicated to documenting abuses and crimes at the Supervised Lifestyles facility. Supervised Lifestyles, based in Brewster, NY, has been accused of abusing patients, dishonesty, deceptive practices, illegal restraints, and much more. This blog is one of several forums meant to specifically expose the wrongs of the program and it's owner Al Bergman.

Goverment Nightmare Sentences Man to Hell in a Psych Ward

As seen in this editorial

Charles Haroutunian’s ordeal is a classic illustration of the road to hell being paved with good intentions, and how much worse that hell can be once too many well-intentioned government and legal agencies enter the fray.

After a 2002 suicide attempt, the Sun Lakes resident found himself at the mercy of no less than four government agencies or contractors, each of whom had a role to play once the suicidal 76-year-old man had been transferred from another hospital to Maricopa Medical Center, and his family had decided to have him committed to a mental institution.

This became possible when one of two court-appointed psychiatrists testified he met the criteria, and the other failed to show up. Once the process was set in motion, nobody seemed to want to be at the steering wheel. Value Options, which handles the county’s mental health care services, claimed it was responsible for outpatient treatment only, ceding the job to the county hospital, which in turn deferred to the Veterans Administration, who would be footing the bill.

The VA would only pay for him to be sent to a Tucson nursing home for the severely mentally ill; Haroutunian, now 80, wasn’t in any shape to protest.

“I just thought I had my 180 days of punishment for breaking man’s law and God’s law for trying to take my life,” he told the Tribune’s Gary Grado, in a story that ran Tuesday.

In reality, he faced a potential life sentence, after his case was never transferred into the Pima County supervision it needed, but instead was mistakenly closed out by a Value Options employee. It was only the arrival of a sympathetic psychologist at the nursing home and having the means to hire a lawyer to track his case down that saved Haroutunian. Even then, it took four years for him to receive any compensation for having spent months in a locked ward with about 30 other patients who were not capable of communicating with him in any way other than spitting in his food.

The $310,250 court award, reached in October, divvied up the blame among two agencies — as much an indictment of an overgrown state that cannot keep track of which paperwork went down which rabbit hole, as anything else.

The process of this and so many other tasks, jury-rigged like a computer with a spaghetti nest of wires underneath it, must be streamlined. There is an agency, the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary, responsible for protecting the rights of vulernable adults, and it was found by the trial jury to be relatively less liable for Haroutunian’s treatment.

The map needs be redrawn so the agency that has the ultimate responsibility can’t credibly pass the buck to another entity, particularly a government contractor. This isn’t about paperwork, it is about people, and they should be treated better if for no other reason than they need someone to look out for their best interests, not create more problems for them.

Do Legalized Drug Pushers Influence TeenScreen?

As Seen Here

Raise your hand if you think that a drug company's main purpose is to help mankind? In a perfect world that would be the case, but instead, welcome to Planet Earth. The Board of Directors of any drug company has but one obligation to their stockholders - to provide a good return on their investment by increasing revenue and profits.

Since the 1980's, the drug industry has been one of the most profitable industries in the world, on par with oil and banking industries. IMS Health, a company that heralds themselves as "the one global source for pharmaceutical intelligence", stated that in 2005, North American pharmaceutical sales were at $265.7 billion.

Drug companies hammer us with the propaganda on how much money is spent on research, and that out of the millions spent on research, few drugs make money. One could easily be led down this path of deception but careful research shows that the real drug company spending is not research, but marketing.

The top ten pharmaceutical companies invest about 14% of their profits in R&D (Research and Development). However, about 35% is spent on marketing. For every $1.00 spent on research, $2.50 is spent promoting the drugs to the public. These billions of dollars in marketing include drug promotions during nearly every television commercial break, handing out free samples and propaganda to family doctors, sponsoring lavish medical conferences at expensive resorts, and "research grants". Millions are also spent on helping to create and support various front groups like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) which forward the drug company's marketing message covertly. Millions more are spent in lobbying Congress to protect drug company profits. The U.S. government is the largest bulk buyer of drugs, after Wal-Mart, but the "Social Security Prescription Drug Benefit Program" forbids the government from negotiating drug prices with Big Pharma!

A typical "breakthrough" in drug research is merely a drug company in partnership with a university announcing and marketing their own version of a previously released drug for the same disorder. The FDA will approve the new drugs, when provided with short-term studies where the drug companies purportedly show that the drug performs better than a placebo. In 2002, the FDA approved the use of seventy-eight new drugs but only classified seven of these drugs as improvements over older drugs.

Drug company money is funneled into all kinds of research. For instance, the doctors who created "Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder" (PMDD) were funded in part by Eli Lilly Corporation. By "proving" their drug Prozac treats a new "disease", Lilly was able to extend the patent on the drug for seven more years. Now the exact same drug is marketed under a new name, "Sarafem", to treat women with PMDD. Their slogan became, "Think it's PMS? It could be PMDD." Think it's a marketing ploy? You bet it is! Patented drugs are sold at drastically higher prices than non-patented drugs.

Another marketing ploy used is to advertise the name of the drug without stating its use. This allows the company to avoid mentioning the huge list of side effects.

Big Pharma doesn't stop there. They are now busy making huge donations to pseudo-scientific and official-sounding mental health organizations and screening programs to push even more customers onto their drugs.

"Signs of Suicide" is a program developed by the non-profit group "Screening for Mental Health, Inc." Tax records show that donations from 2001-2004 included money from Solvay Pharmaceuticals: $27,500, Pfizer: $750,000, Abbott Laboratories: $35,000, Forest Labs: $153,000, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals: $100,000, and Eli Lilly: $2,157,925. Why would drug companies donate millions to implement mental health screening if not to increase revenue and profits?

TeenScreen, an invention of psychiatrist David Shaffer, is a screening program which uses questionnaires on children as young as nine, asking questions like, "Have you often felt very nervous when you've had to do things in front of people?" and "Are you Hispanic or Latino?" Based on their answers, TeenScreen routes these kids to mental health "professionals", who inevitably decide that these children have symptoms defined as "mental disorders", justifying prescriptions for antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs for many of these children. TeenScreen's staff and advisory board are loaded with ties to Big Pharma.


TeenScreen's Director, Laurie Flynn was formerly the head of NAMI National. Between 1996 and mid 1999, NAMI received over 11 million dollars from the drug companies: Janssen ($2.08 million), Novartis ($1.87 million), Pfizer ($1.3 million), Abbott Laboratories ($1.24 million), Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals ($658,000), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($613,505) and Eli Lilly $2.87 million.

The scandals of TeenScreen are not limited to drug company connections. Laurie Flynn also perjured herself in front of a Senate Subcommittee, stating that TeenScreen had partnered with the University of South Florida and were piloting the program in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Yet there were never any pilot programs in these two counties.

In fact, the school board of Pinellas County soundly rejected TeenScreen, partially because of Flynn's false testimony. One school board member was quoted as saying, "I will not do business with an organization that has gone to Congress and told them something that is not true."

In 2003, drug regulators in the United Kingdom recommended that antidepressants not be used to treat children under eighteen years of age, because of studies showing that the risks greatly outweighed any possible benefit. This is now law and included in their drug warnings. However, at the request of Pfizer, TeenScreen's David Shaffer created a letter which attempted to block the findings of the U.K. drug regulators.

The results of pushing these dangerous drugs on children and adults include: murder, psychosis, brain damage, liver and heart damage, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicides and actual suicide - all known side effects of psychiatric drugs. How many children and young adults have to be permanently damaged or killed before we just say "NO!" to these legal drugs and to TeenScreen? Now ask yourself, "Who are the criminals?"

Everyone knows that drugs are big business, and the only difference between street dealers, drug lords and Big Pharma is that Big Pharma is legal. Whether your child is hooked by a dealer or by a psychiatrist, the end result will be the same.

For the time being, the psychiatric drug trade is legal. As long as this is the case, drug companies have a legal right to market their wares and make a profit. They do not have a right to slither into schools in order to find new profit centers amongst our children. The public has a right to know the truth about these criminal activities and we all have a responsibility to protect our next generation from unwanted intrusions into their lives for profit.

Special Note: Thousands of concerned citizens have already recognized who the criminals are and have taken decisive action to stop their intrusion into the lives of young people. Join them by clicking on this link:

Friday, January 05, 2007

State suspends psychiatrist suspected of having sex with patient

As seen in the Lansing State Journal

The state has temporarily suspended the medical license of a Detroit-area psychiatrist suspected of having a sexual relationship with a patient, Attorney General Mike Cox said.

Albert Bayer of Farmington Hills is also suspected of over-prescribing narcotics to the same patient, Cox said in a news release.

A call to a Farmington Hills telephone listing for an Albert Bayer went unanswered Thursday evening.

Cox filed a complaint against Bayer in December with the state Department of Community Health's Bureau of Health Professions, which investigated the allegations against the psychiatrist.

"It is disturbing that a doctor would abuse the trust of patients who seek his medical assistance," Cox said. "After receiving the evidence against Dr. Bayer, my office has concluded that the public would be at risk if he were to continue practicing medicine."

Cox said his office will request "severe" sanctions against Bayer.
A reader comment at the newspaper website noted the following:
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, 18 U.S.C. § 242. This provision makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

For the purpose of Section 242, acts under "color of law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official's lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.

The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.( The Mich. Dept. of civl rights and the "E.E.O.C" should take special note of this)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Panel votes to extend antidepressant black box warning to children and teens

As seen on News Target

An advisory panel for the FDA recommended that warnings of suicidal thoughts and behavior in adults up to age 25 be put on antidepressant drug packaging, but a health advocate notes that few people pay attention to these warnings anyway.

Currently, antidepressant drugs such as Pfizer's Zoloft and Eli Lilly's Prozac and Cymbalta carry "black box" warnings -- the FDA's most severe warning for dangerous prescription drugs -- stating that the medications may increase suicidal thoughts or behavior in children and teens shortly after initial treatment. According to health information company IMS Health, sales of these drugs brought in $12.5 billion in 2005.


Before the recommendations were debated, family members of patients who had committed suicide while on antidepressants testified to the panel that strong warnings for the drugs should be applied to patients of all ages. Some said the first emergences of antidepressant-linked suicidal behavior should have spurred the FDA into action in the early 1990s.

"I hold you all responsible for (my husband's) death, and I always will," said Suzanne Gonzales, whose 40-year-old husband shot himself in the head soon after beginning treatment with GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil. Recently, GlaxoSmithKline has added information from a study that showed young adults on placebo were less likely to report suicidal behavior than those on antidepressants to their label.

Pfizer and Effexor maker Wyeth maintained that adult trials indicated no link between their drugs and suicidal thoughts or behavior, although Wyeth's Vice President for Neurosceince, Dr. Philip Ninan, said the company would support some type of warning about possible risks for such behavior in young adults taking any antidepressant.

"Black box warnings are health safety gimmicks that allow the FDA to avoid having to ban dangerous prescription drugs that should be banned," said Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and critic of the overmedication of children and teens. "The warnings are all but ignored by doctors and patients alike. They serve no purpose other than allowing the FDA to disclaim responsibility for the hazardous side effects.

While the FDA usually follows recommendations from its advisory panels, Adams noted that this is not always the case. Earlier this year, the panel voted to require black box warnings on Ritalin after methylphenidate, the generic name for Ritalin, was implicated in 19 cases of sudden death. As noted in the Feb. 18 issue of New Scientist, the FDA decided to reject the recommendation.

"I have no doubt that if antidepressants were actually herbs, the FDA would declare them to be 'unsafe at any dose' and ban them from the marketplace," Adams said. "But because they are high-profit pharmaceuticals that earn billions of dollars for drug companies, the FDA keeps them on the market as long as possible, using black box warnings to excuse themselves from drug safety responsibilities."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

International Coalition For Drug Awareness

International Coalition For Drug Awareness is a private, non-profit group of physicians, researchers, journalists and concerned citizens.

Our primary focus is to address the world's most pervasive and subtle drug problem—prescription drugs. We are dedicated to educating the people of the world regarding the potential harmful and life threatening short and long term effects of these drugs along with the serious problems associated with the unethical marketing techniques of pharmaceutical companies and the off-label prescribing of these drugs by many physicians. As the cause of an estimated 200,000 deaths per year in America, drug reactions are now the third leading cause of death!

The most dangerous period of time for a drug is upon market introduction. At that point physicians and their patients have information on adverse reactions present in the controlled environment of a clinical trial, but are unaware of the potential adverse reactions of these new drugs when dispensed to the general public. We feel there is a need to track and report patient reactions more carefully and more rapidly than what is presently being done, which should result in lower medical costs for the patients and doctors as well. And also might begin to bridge the gap that is beginning to form between well-meaning doctors and maltreated patients.

By keeping prescribing physicians and their patients abreast of recent adverse reaction reports and approved uses of drugs as opposed to their off-label uses, we hope to cut the number of unnecessary deaths due to drug reactions and interactions and lessen the number of malpractice suits filed against physicians as a result of those reactions. Beyond this public education process our intention is to serve as a watchdog group over the FDA and similar organizations around the world, encouraging them to remove drugs which demonstrate high numbers of dangerous adverse reactions and threaten the public safety.
Their board is composed of medical professionals. They also have a good collection of online resources

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

SSRI Stories

The SSRI Stories website is a fairly comprehensive index of stories, mainly criminal in nature, that have appeared in the media or that were part of FDA testimony in either 1991 or 2004, in which antidepressants are mentioned. These stories have been collected over a period of years by two directors of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness (ICFDA). They experienced firsthand the drugs' power to harm and want to save others from the fate that befell them. Their focus has been on Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, of which Prozac was the first, launched in December 1987. Other SSRIs are Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Sarafem (Prozac in a pink pill), Lexapro, and Luvox. These drugs are widely employed as first line treatment for depression. Other antidepressants included in this list are Remeron, Anafranil and the SNRIs Effexor, Serzone and Cymbalta as well as the dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant Wellbutrin (also marketed as Zyban).

Key Points of Public Speakers at December 13 FDA Advisory Committee Meeting

As reported by the Alliance for Human Research Protection:

The following are my brief notes summarizing what I understood as the key points made by almost every speaker who testified for 3 minutes during the public portion of the December 13 meeting.

- Julie Totten represented Families for Depression Awareness. She said that families often don’t know how to accompany people who suffer from depression, and she promoted her group’s Depression Wellness Guide.

- Suzanne Gonzalez spoke of losing her husband who committed suicide at age 40 while on Paxil.

- John Mann, professor of psychiatry, emphasized the negative consequences of depression, especially suicide.

- Allen Jones, whistleblower and formerly on AHRPs’ Board of Directors, highlighted rampant conflicts of interests at the FDA and in its advisory committees, including this one.

- Nick Korzie, 16 years old, spoke of his experience as a depressed teenager prescribed psychiatric drugs. "I was given antipsychotics though I wasn’t psychotic, I was given anti-seizure drugs though I’ve never had seizures." He ended with: "We, are the people. You, the FDA, should protect the people."

- Christopher Kratochvil, a psychiatrist and clinical trial researcher, spoke on behalf of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I missed most of his talk.

- Darrel Regier, director of research at the American Psychiatric Association, said that the FDA database is limited because clinical trials don’t evaluate suicidality; only prospective trials can do so. He asked the committee to provide realistic guidelines, stating that some doctors refuse to initiate antidepressant treatment because they can’t guarantee 7 visits in 12 weeks for patient monitoring, as the latest FDA advisory indicated.

- Moira Doilan spoke for the Medical Accountability Network. She deplored that the FDA only used a single suicidal event per subject in its analysis and let the manufacturers decide what constituted such events. She asked that warnings of the possibility of antidepressant drug-emergent suicidality be quickly publicized by the FDA.

- Scott Gruder spoke of his father who killed himself 13 days after being prescribed Paxil.

- Deborah Gruder spoke of her husband and Scott’s father, who loved life and whose suicide was completely unexpected. She shouted to committee members that antidepressant-induced suicides were "nothing but a blood bath and mass murder."

- Gwen Olsen spoke of her 20 year-old niece on antidepressants who self-immolated immediately after failing to hang herself. Olsen used to work as a pharmaceutical representative and discussed how she was trained to persuade doctors to prescribe drugs.

- Beverly Hatcher spoke of her mother with no history of depression who killed herself after 16 days on Paxil.

- Ellen Liversidge, a member of AHRP, spoke of her son who was put on Zyprexa and gained 100 lbs, then fell into a coma and died.

- Lisa Van Syckel spoke of her 15 year-old daughter who attempted suicide while on Paxil.

- Charles Carpenter broke down as he spoke of his wife who killed herself while on Paxil. A psychologist she consulted because she occasionally "jumped in the car" recommended she take Paxil, which was then prescribed by her primary care doctor.

- Paula Clayton, psychiatrist, spoke for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She’s prescribed antidepressants since 1958. She urged the committee not to issue a black box warning.

- Diane Dorlester spoke for the National Mental Health Association. She described her positive experience on antidepressants and asked the committee not to restrict access to these drugs.

- Lewis Kopolow, President of the Maryland Psychiatric Association, stated that depression is a disease, that it affects physical health, and that half of depressed people don’t get help.

- Joseph Glenmullen, psychiatrist at Harvard Student Health service, said that the FDA never did the promised gold standard study on suicidality and has swept the problem under the carpet for 15 years. He said that drug-induced suicidality was a distinct, easy-to-recognize phenomenon.

- Dan Reidenberg, director of the National Council for Suicide Prevention, urged the FDA not to make it difficult to get life saving antidepressants.

- Karen Menzies, lawyer, expressed astonishment that the FDA did not look at adverse effects, especially akathisia, in connection with sucidality. She stated that data were regularly hidden by the drug companies, and had provided examples to the committee. She urged the committee to use its legal powers to ask for this data, but deplored that "You just don’t!"

- Michelle Moore spoke of her husband who was "murdered." He committed suicide 1 day after being switched to Paxil from 30 days of Prozac. He was not depressed and had given no clue.

- Tony Noll, whose father committed suicide on an antidepressant, said "I came to speak to you on behalf of the statistically insignificant."

- Mary Margaret Neill spoke of her five depressive episodes and the multiple medication regimen she has been on, and that her current one is working.

- Donna Barnes spoke for the National Organization for People of Color against suicide. She stated that Blacks use relatively less psychiatric treatment, and comply less. She urged the FDA not to put a black box warning.

- Sarah Bostock’s daughter Cecily killed herself on Paxil. Bostock has set up, where over 1200 media stories on SSRI induced violence and suicide since 1998 are compiled and analyzed. She invited committee members to view this database.

- Kim Witczak’s husband Woody committed suicide after being prescribed Zoloft for insomnia. Witczak said Woody loved life and had no serious personal problems. She described in layperson’s terms what seemed like a sudden preceding episode of akathisia. publicizes his story and the issues.

- Joseph Weiner, psychiatrist at Long Island University Medical Center, disclosed financial support for his testimony from the American Psychiatric Association. He described his "personal victory over major depression due in large part to antidepressant treatment. If only I’d received antidepressants earlier, I would have avoided years of excruciating suffering."

- Angela Heck described the fear and ongoing bewildering consequences of an episode when her husband, in an antidepressant-induced dissociative episode, tried to kill her with a knife.

- Sheila Matthews spoke for Able Child. She emphasized the subjectivity of psychiatric diagnosis, then gave results of two surveys her group commissioned on public knowledge of Medwatch, the FDA’s spontaneous adverse drug reaction reporting system. She asked to FDA to set up public campaigns to let consumers know where/how to report ADRs, as consumers detect effects sooner than providers.

- Robert Carolla spoke for National Alliance on Mental Illness. He described frustrating talk therapy in pre-drug days, his medication experiences and his long road to recovery. Suicidality is frequent and subtle, he said. He asked the FDA not to discourage people from taking antidepressants.

- Erin Crowley spoke for the National Coalition for Drug Awareness. I missed most of her talk.

- Andy Vickery, lawyer, said that controlled trials are not designed to evaluate suicidality. He asked why the FDA abandoned its own algorithm for determining causality in individual cases of drug reactions. He asked why is this committee meeting if it’s not asked to vote on anything?

- John R. Hayes spoke for Eli Lilly and Company. He urged the panel to be rational.

- Heidi Bryan, speaking on behalf of the Feeling Blue Suicide Prevention Council, described how antidepressants saved her life.

- Donald Farber, lawyer, urged committee members to be honest. He said that the committee was not meeting to decide who should get what treatment, but first and foremost to decide on the most accurate description of the risk of antidepressant-induced suicidality.

- David Healy, psychiatrist and researcher, presented slides showing how drug companies routinely alter data, switching suicide-related events from drug-treated groups to placebo groups, and charged that Thomas Laughren himself, in a single-authored article, did the exact same thing.

- Luis Fuller [spelling?] spoke for Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights. He presented Oregon data showing increases in suicide attempts positively associated with antidepressant treatment. He stated that ER visits from antidepressant-induced suicidality are more frequent than all similar events from heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other illicit drugs combined.

- Carolyn Rabinowitz, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, emphasized that depression hurts a lot and that drugs help.

- Sheri Walton says she has major depression, that it went untreated and undiagnosed for 20 years and ruined her life, and that antidepressants saved her and gave her back her life. She believes that unecessary warnings may scare people away from treatment.

- Jane Richner spoke of her 20 year-old son who was given a 90-day prescription of Celexa for situational anxiety during a 10-minute medical visit. Life was all coming together for him, but he hung himself. He manifested definite akathisia beforehand. She emphasized the importance of drug-induced fatal withdrawal effects.

- Nancy Sharby described a long family history of suicide, and she and her children have been diagnosed with mood disorders. She emphasized the burden of depression.

- Vera Hassner Sharav, president of AHRP, highlighted numerous flaws in the FDA clinical review’s approach and analysis, and pointed out major discrepancies with British studies of similar data. [Her full presentation is available on this website.]

- Kendrick Moxon, lawyer for Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights, described how completely conflicted the FDA’s advisory committees were, especially the 1991 committee that ruled against warning about SSRI-induced suicidality.

- David Shern of Mental Health America argued that the availability of SSRIs has led to a decrease in suicide rates. He stated that a black box warning won’t promote a public health agenda.

- Alison Malmon of Active Minds, Inc., spoke of the large unmet need for help and support among depressed and distressed youths in high school and college.

- Ann Blake Tracy spoke on behalf of International Coalition for Drug Awareness. She emphasized the harm that widespread use of SSRIs has produced for two decades.

- Eric Caine, professor of psychiatry and president of Suicide Prevention Action Network acknowledged some funding from drug industry. He urged FDA not to scare people away from care.

- Rosemary Dorsett spoke of how her son got screened for depression during his physical, got Prozac from his GP, quickly became insomniac, lost weight, heard voices, and shot himself in chest. She emphasized how he loved life and this was totally out of character.

- Mary Ellen Whitter spoke of her daughter who loved life, her life, and people, and was happy and extremely functional. After graduation, she became insomniac and anxious, received Paxil. Immediately worsened across the board, and hung herself after 7 days on drugs.

- Nada Stotland, physician and with Mental Health America, stated that antidepressants save lives and the risk of a back box warning is that patients will be frightened to take them.

- Roger Peele, psychiatrist, spoke of his long family history of suicide and argued that suicides are depression-related, not drug-related.

- Eric Swann, brother in law of Woody Whitczak who killed himself on antidepressants, urged the committee to do the right thing and recommend a back box warning for adult suicidality.

- Dawn Jeronowitz described how she was diagnosed with anxiety as no physical cause for pain in her finger was detected, and was prescribed Paxil. She experienced outright mania, which she described in harrowing detail. She asked how such dangerous drugs could be legally pushed on people without any information provided on their major adverse effects.

- Allen Routhier said his was given an "unmarked free sample of Wellbutrin" by her doctor and was dead within one week. He said this meeting was a circus side show, with the real action being the unfettered sale of dangerous drugs for corporate profits. He said he was at such meetings three times now, with nothing ever getting done. He wondered if new Nuremberg trials were needed.

- Ann Sheffield spoke of her three books on the negative impact of depression. She said: "I’d be dead if it weren’t for antidepressants."

- Laurie Yorke spoke of, a website which offers peer support for people undergoing withdrawal from antidepressants.

- Hanna Stotland, a lawyer, said that she was crippled by depression, and drugs saved her life and allowed her to have a productive career. "Untreated depression is the danger we need to fear most."

- Charles Reynolds, psychiatrist, spoke for the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry. I missed most of his talk.

- Peter Breggin, psychiatrist, told the committee "The data you’re looking at is junk!" He said drug companies routinely hide damaging data, and that as expert in numerous cases of drug-induced damage, he’s seen "innumerable" instances that have never made it to the FDA or publications, examples of which he’s provided to the committee.

- Robert Gibbons, Center for Health Statistics at University of Illinois at Chicago, stated that data from Netherlands show that drop in prescriptions of SSRIs are associated with increases in youth suicide rates.

- Carl Salzman, psychiatrist, spoke for the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He said he was concerned about unintended consequences of a black box warning.

- Derek Braslow, lawyer, stated that data relied upon by the FDA isn’t reliable. "The science is here, in the people."

- Robert Valuck of the University of Colorado argued with supporting slides that fewer prescriptions of antidepressants would definitely result from a black box warning.

- Steven Davis, physician, believed that as a result of a black box warning, physicians will be scared to prescribe antidepressants.