Saturday, January 31, 2015

Medical malpractice is not limited to surgery, and the case of Paul Lozano illustrates this better than any other example.

Item #2 from the List Verse Article 10 Horrible Cases Of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is not limited to surgery, and the case of Paul Lozano illustrates this better than any other example. Lozano had been sexually abused by his mother as a child, and his psychiatrist, Margaret Bean-Bayog, decided to try a form of therapy known as “reparenting”, where the psychiatrist simulates the different stages of lifespan development in an attempt to “reprogram” the patient. She coddled him, read him stories, called him “baby”, made him call her “mother”, and made him learn cue-cards off by heart. One such card read “I’m your mom and I love you and you love me very much. Say that 10 times”. Other cards were more sexual, and more notes were found that appeared to be erotica featuring Lozano and his doctor. It was also reported that they did in fact have sexual relations. After about five years, he committed suicide.
When Bean-Bayog's graphic love notes were discovered, two other therapists informed state authorities. But no investigation was launched until Lozano's suicide made newspaper headlines. Even then, other psychoanalysts circled the wagons, claiming their colleague was the victim of the affair.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Judge ponders psychiatrist's admission that he helped bury the body.

From a Report from New York's Democrat and Chronicle

Much more information and video at the link

Monroe County Court Judge Christopher Ciaccio has postponed a decision on the admissibility of statements Dr. William Lewek gave to Rochester police.

The psychiatrist is awaiting trial on accusations that he buried the body of Matthew Straton, 32, in the backyard of Lewek's home on Rowley Street in October 2013. Lewek, a certified addiction counselor, allegedly told Rochester police that Straton, 32, died in the home.

At issue in court Wednesday was the admissibility of statements Lewek, 63, gave to police. Police investigator Nicholas Mazzola previously testified that Lewek led police into his backyard on Jan. 15, 2014, pointed out a mound of debris and dirt and said that beneath that mound was the dead body of Straton.

Psychiatrist suspended after allegations of sexual misconduct

As seen in this report from NBC WREX 13 in Rockford, Illinois – Rockford’s News Leader

Much more info in the video and at the link

A Rockford psychiatrist is immediately suspended after he is accused of inappropriately prescribing medications and being involved in sexual misconduct with several female patients, according to a notice of temporary suspension from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The notice states Dr. William W. Wood is suspended as allegations against him "constitute an immediate danger to the public."

The notice details accusations that Wood violated boundaries with several female patients at his practice by sending text messages of a personal and sexual nature, kissing, touching, and hugging.

In addition, the notice alleges Wood inappropriately prescribed controlled substances, including Percocet, to at least one patient he was treating for depression, anxiety and panic attacks. The notice states that Wood was aware of that patient's history of prescription medication abuse and he continued to prescribe multiple controlled substances to her, knowing that she was overusing and overdosed on the prescribed controlled substances.

The notice goes on to state that Wood became aware that a local area Walgreens pharmacist refused to refill a prescription for this patient because she was taking too many medications. Wood instructed the patient to go to a different pharmacy.

These allegations are documented from July 2014 to November 2014.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lawsuit against Janssen alleges Risperdal caused gynecomastia

As reported by Healio Psychiatric Annals

Four men have filed separate personal injury lawsuits alleging that an antipsychotic medication was both defective and dangerous following the plaintiffs’ development of gynecomastia, according to a press release.

The complaints stem from patients living in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and Ohio who claimed the administration of risperidone (Risperdal, Janssen Pharmaceuticals) at a young age led to gynecomastia, according to the release issued by Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. The litigation was filed in state court in Pennsylvania and also named Johnson & Johnson, parent company to Janssen, as a defendant.

“The bodies of these young men have been permanently mutated by Risperdal,” attorney Wendy R. Fleishman, said in the release. “In a young man who is already isolated by his challenges caused by mental issues, the growth of women’s breasts on his body in adolescent and teenage years is absolutely devastating.

“As alleged in the complaint, Janssen knew Risperdal stimulated male breast development and failed to adequately warn physicians, parents, and the adolescents prescribed Risperdal of this side effect. So when the moms and dads gave their consent to add this prescription for their sons, they knew nothing about the potential horrible harm it could cause.”

Healio Psychiatry contacted Janssen for commentary, but has not received a reply. Check back soon for any further updates

They Have No Idea How To Rehabilitate Sex Offenders

As Seen on Vocativ.Com convicted sex offenders may not work at all, according to a new study.

This is another case of "No Results". Of course, psychiatrists have long admitted that they do not cure anyone.

Prison programs that have been in place for decades to rehabilitate convicted sex offenders may not work at all, according to a new study.

“No evidence from academic or policy research has shown that the treatment programme significantly reduces sexual reoffending,” David K. Ho, a forensic psychologist at South Essex Partnership University in England, writes in BMJ. “Victims and the public deserve to know this.”

After reviewing hundreds of prior studies, Ho concluded that there is no evidence that prison rehabilitation programs reduce the risk of sex criminals striking again. If they do not work, Ho says, we are not only wasting state resources, but also putting society at risk by releasing unreformed sex offenders.

To date, the studies have simply followed criminals in therapy and tracked their outcomes. However, in order to draw real conclusions about whether psychotherapy works on sex offenders, we would need so-called randomized trials with a control group that receives “placebo” therapy.

Despite the obvious ethical issues of releasing sex criminals after fake psychotherapy sessions, scientists have been pushing for definitive trials for at least five years.

For more on the effort to rehabilitate sex criminals, check out the American Civil Liberties Union’s review of sex offender laws that do more harm than good.
The author seems to have missed the datum that subjective therapies, such as talking therapies, cannot be subject to double blinding.

As can be seen in this journal issue, modern science is still trying to figure out how to do double blind studies with regard to the various kinds of talking therapies.

Now you can do a double blind study regarding some aspects of the *training* of therapists. This study is fascinating regarding the attitude of the trainees vs the results of the therapy they deliver.

Essentially, if you train therapists to be in real communication with patients, they get better results. Who would have thought?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Psychiatry is Broken

A very interesting blog post slash column entitled "When Psychiatrists Distrust Their Patients, Their Patients Can Only Respond In Kind" by Rebecca Vipond Brink

She reviews the problems she has had with Psychiatrists when they become arrogant, and do not take seriously what their patients are saying. Unfortunately this is all too common.

Here are some snippets

The worst psychiatrist I had, on the other hand, seemed awesome when we started — our initial appointment was an hour long, and she probed into my family’s medical history for clues about mine. It seemed holistic. As time went on, though, appointments became sparser and shorter — she was constantly double-booked, she got to the point that she was doing five-minute refill appointments, and I was eventually on four different medications in an attempt to treat anxiety and what we thought was depression in the fallout of PTSD. When I disputed her original diagnosis at my last appointment, she responded, “That’s just not what I know about you from our work.” Our work? She had only spoken to me for a grand total of maybe two hours at that point, while I had been out in the world living my life with my emotions. I wanted to be trusted that I was the best possible source of information about my well-being, not a brief description of a few symptoms and the DSM-V.

I told her that I wanted to get off of my medications because they just weren’t working — I was still having massive, debilitating anxiety attacks, nightmares, insomnia, paranoia. I had had a full-on nervous breakdown while on medications. And I didn’t feel like anti-depressants were appropriate, because with a lot of reflection, I landed on the opinion that debilitating anxiety looks a lot like depression but is not the same thing. All of my feelings and neurotic impulses were still very intense, and yet here I was, taking more and more medications in higher and higher doses to treat them, to no effect. Instead of weaning me off of anything, she prescribed two more medications. I found out later that some of the medications she wanted me to take had unsavory interactions that she didn’t disclose to me.

[...] All of this has left me feeling more than a little suspicious about psychiatry. I felt like my psychiatrist had dismissed my opinions in her care plan, and had distrusted me and my word without me having given her any reason over the course of my treatment to do so. I felt like I had had no control over my care, and that feeling of a lack of control over what was a major part of my life was devastating — I have PTSD because of abuse and rape. Control over my body is important to me.

Much more at the the link.

Just another data point of evidence that Psychiatry is Broken

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Smoking Cessation Drug Suspected in 30 Suicides in Canada

From a Report in the Vancouver Sun

Champix is suspected of playing a major role in the deaths of 44 patients — 30 of them by suicide — since the popular stop-smoking drug was approved in Canada in 2007, a Vancouver Sun investigation has found.

The Pfizer drug has also been linked to more than 1,300 incidents of suicide attempts or thoughts, depression, and aggression/anger across the country in the past seven years.

The drug is the most popular of those offered by B.C.’s quit smoking program, which traditionally sees a jump in participation every January as people renew new year’s resolutions to butt out.

Numbers on the deaths and other side-effects come from a Health Canada database where doctors, pharmacists and drug companies report bad side-effects experienced by patients taking pharmaceuticals.

But Health Canada admits on its website that side-effects are under-reported, and experts say the database could represent as little as one per cent of the patients who suffer complications.

“A small proportion of the adverse reactions that have occurred on this drug in Canada would be in the adverse reaction database. Essentially it is spontaneous, voluntary reporting,” said Barbara Mintzes, a pharmaceutical drug expert at the University of B.C.

Even the incomplete numbers, though, are a concern, she said. When someone taking an anti-depressant attempts suicide, it’s initially not clear whether that’s caused by the pre-existing depression or the drug; but in the case of Champix, people are taking the drug to stop smoking — not for a mental health condition.

“You are looking at a lot of deaths, suicides and attempted suicides, and suicidal ideation in a population that you would have no reason to think would be otherwise at high risk of suicide,” said Mintzes, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine’s School of Population and Public Health.

The Sun downloaded data from the Health Canada site for Champix and Zyban, the two drugs covered by Pharmacare as part of the province’s Smoking Cessation program.

Champix is the subject of a class-action lawsuit, which more than 200 Canadians have joined, alleging psychiatric side-effects. One of the plaintiffs is the mother of a B.C. woman who killed herself while she was on the drug.

In recent years, Champix has been slapped with the toughest safety warnings in the U.S. and Canada, and France stopped covering the drug through its public Pharmacare system.
Much more information at the lihnk

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Judge allows portion of lawsuit filed by man locked up for 19 years

From a Report in the Journal Star

A federal judge ruled last week that parts, but not all, of a Florida man's lawsuit can go forward against his former doctors at the Lincoln Regional Center, where he was locked up for more than 19 years on a misdiagnosis.

For years, John Montin's doctors said his denials that he was mentally ill were evidence that he was.

But in 2013, his treatment team agreed with him. It was a medication-induced psychosis that led to an incident in Hayes County and his commitment at the Regional Center, the team said, and a judge let him out.

In July, Montin sued his former doctors, alleging:
  • that his former doctors and treatment team members had deprived him of his rights, a so-called 1983 civil rights claim, and
  • that they hadn't met the standard of care, a state medical malpractice claim.
He is seeking more than $22 million in damages for incorrectly being labeled mentally ill and for unnecessarily being held and subjected to treatments he didn't need. He also is seeking $760,000 in lost wages and $10 million in punitive damages.

In a decision that was neither all good nor all bad for either side, Senior U.S. District Judge Lyle Strom refused to dismiss Montin's case, a move the doctors had sought. But the judge also refused to let Montin go forward on a number of theories, including unnecessary bodily restraint.

While the doctors' annual reports might have kept Montin in the locked hospital for more than 19 years, they hadn't shackled him to his bed or otherwise physically restrained him there.

Montin also cannot go forward on a theory that his doctors hadn't made truthful disclosures in their reports. In other words, Montin had alleged that at some point the doctors had to know his diagnosis was wrong.

But Strom did allow Montin to go forward on a theory alleging that the doctors retaliated against him because he kept filing lawsuits.

And the judge refused to throw out the case on an argument by the Nebraska Attorney General's office, which represents most of the defendants, that the state employees couldn't be sued because they were acting essentially as part of the judicial process.

"The court disagrees," Strom wrote in the order.
Much much more at the link

Sunday, January 18, 2015

VA to look into overmedication reports at Tomah center

From an AP Report in the San Francisco Chronicle

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is launching an investigation into reports of overmedication and retaliatory management practices at the VA Medical Center in Tomah, the agency said Thursday.

Veterans Health Administration specialists plan to visit the western Wisconsin facility within two weeks to review medication prescription practices, the federal agency said in a statement Thursday afternoon. They also plan to send representatives from the Office of Accountability Review to look into allegations of retaliatory behavior.

"My sense is that this isn't just unique to Tomah," U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat whose district includes Tomah. "We have a system-wide issue that needs to be addressed when it comes to pain management with our veterans."

Kind and other Wisconsin lawmakers had sent requests to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald this week seeking an investigation

Tomah VA spokesman Scott Farley said in a statement the medical center will fully cooperate with the investigation.

A recent story from The Center for Investigative Reporting noted the number of opiates prescribed at the Tomah VA had more than quintupled between 2004 and 2012, even as the number of veterans seeking treatment there has declined. Health care professionals have complained about the medical center's practices for several years.
Here is more info from The Center for Investigative Reporting Looks like the main culprite is, of course, another damn psychiatrist Dr. David Houlihan
Politicians from both parties and government bureaucrats are rushing to look into allegations of rampant overmedication, retaliatory management practices and preventable overdose deaths at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin, that The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed last week.

In the story’s wake, the VA has begun “actively reviewing allegations of retaliatory behavior and overmedication at the Tomah VA Medical Center,” said agency spokesman James Hutton. He said the facility’s chief of staff, psychiatrist Dr. David Houlihan, has been temporarily reassigned to the VA regional office while an internal investigation takes place.

But the problems disclosed should not have surprised politicians or federal officials: Health care professionals at the hospital have complained for at least five years about Houlihan’s prescription practices and his retaliatory management style – filing numerous reports with those in charge of oversight.

“It’s about time,” said Robin Weeth, a former social worker at the hospital who wrote to the VA inspector general in 2012 with a long list of allegations, including that “veterans are overmedicated and have been driving while impaired, fallen asleep while smoking and set themselves on fire.”

Today, Weeth reports that he never heard back from the inspector general.

The CIR story reported that the number of opiates prescribed at the Tomah VA had more than quintupled between 2004 and 2012, even as the number of veterans seeking care at the hospital declined. It included details of the August death of a 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran, who overdosed while in the hospital’s inpatient psychiatric ward.


The VA inspector general had closed an investigation into the Tomah VA before Baldwin even got in touch, in March 2014. The inspector general’s report noted that Houlihan’s narcotic prescriptions were “at considerable variance compared to most opioid prescribers” and “raised potentially serious concerns” that should be brought to the attention of the federal agency’s leadership. But the report suggested no punishment.

Weeth said he believed that Jason Simcakoski, the 35-year-old former Marine who fatally overdosed in the Tomah VA psychiatric ward in August, still would be alive today if the inspector general had come down harder on Houlihan.

Much more information at the links

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled that the state is not liable in a lawsuit filed by a former University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics patient who had a sexual relationship with a psychiatrist.

As reported by the Iowa City Press Citizen

Given the regulations that were in place, it looks like the shrink is the only one responsible for his reprehensible conduct. More details at the link

The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled that the state is not liable in a lawsuit filed by a former University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics patient who had a sexual relationship with a psychiatrist.

In a ruling issued Wednesday, the appeals court reversed a previous decision by a Johnson County District Court judge denying the state's motion for summary judgment.

The civil suit stems from a 2010 relationship between Dr. Sergio Paradiso, then a psychiatrist at UIHC, and Sonni Giudicessi, who had been treated by Paradiso and others at the hospital in 2008 and 2009.

According to court records, the two secretly engaged in a sexual relationship from March to June 2010 — four months after Giudicessi had been discharged for treatment. Giudicessi's Des Moines-based psychiatrist reported the relationship to UIHC in July of that year, and Paradiso voluntarily surrendered his medical license in 2012 after the Iowa Board of Medicine found he violated the laws of medical practice.

Giudicessi sued Paradiso in July 2011 for medical negligence, battery, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other charges. She also sued the hospital for breach of contract and negligent hiring.

The appeals court ruled this week that there is no evidence that Paridiso represented to Giudicessi that their sexual relationship was a continuation of their previous counseling relationship.

"Paradiso pursued the relationship for his own personal interest and not the interests of UIHC," Judge Thomas Bower wrote in the court's decision. "... Paradiso's acts were 'so far removed' from his employment duties the State could not be held liable."

Paradiso worked in the psychiatry department at UIHC as a staff doctor from 1997 through his departure in July 2010. According to the ruling, UIHC resident doctors are trained that it is inappropriate to have sexual relationships with patients.

In the ruling, Bower noted that the department's head of psychiatry has distributed a list of "commandments" to residents and fellows, with the first commandment being: "Though shalt not sleep with any UI Psychiatry Hospital patient unless it be thy spouse."

The American Psychiatric Association Code of Ethics prohibits relations between current and former patients, and UIHC policies prohibit sexual harassment, Bower wrote.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Life Care Of Greeneville, NC Named In Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As reported in the Greenville Sun

Many more Details are available at the link

A wrongful death civil lawsuit has been filed against a Greeneville nursing home and several other defendants alleging wrongdoing in the care the facility gave an elderly dementia patient.

In the complaint, filed Dec. 2, 2014, in Greene County Circuit Court, the plaintiff, Robin Tweed Keller, of Virginia, alleges that medical battery and negligence by Life Care Center of Greeneville resulted in the suffering and eventual death of her father, Bobby Glenn Tweed, on Nov. 19, 2013, at the age of 79.

The suit identifies Keller as Tweed's only daughter and his next-of-kin -- and the person he had designated his Tennessee Healthcare Durable Power-of-Attorney in September 2009.

She is also identified as the court-appointed representative of his estate.

Defendants named in the lawsuit are:
  • Life Care Center of Greeneville, 725 Crum St.;
  • Life Care Centers of America Inc., based in Cleveland, Tenn., the parent company of Life Care Center of Greeneville and more than 100 other similar centers in the nation;
  • Wayne E. Tasker & Associates Inc., of Morristown, doing business as Green Tasker & Associates Inc., and Tasker Green & Associates Inc., a firm which Keller believes provides services to Life Care Centers in connection with the mental health of patients;
  • Dr. William C. Diebold, a medical doctor and board-certified psychiatrist with Takoma Regional Hospital's Center for Outpatient Behavioral Health and Senior Care, who, the lawsuit states, treated Tweed at one point during the last months of his life;
  • Stephen L. Haile, an advanced-practice registered nurse who the plaintiff believes to be an officer or employee of the Tasker firm; and
  • Dr. Kenneth Nickle, a physician with Summit Medical Group, who, the lawsuit states, served as medical director of Life Care Center of Greeneville during the last three months of Tweed's life and, in that capacity, treated Tweed for two-and-a-half to three months.
Also cited as a defendant is an unnamed female who, the complaint states, was employed at Life Care Center of Greeneville. The lawsuit alleges that she was involved in the care and treatment of Tweed and administered certain "atypical anti-psychotic drugs" without obtaining the legally-required informed consent from Keller.

The Greeneville Sun has made attempts to seek comment from each defendant listed in the complaint. Each defendant contacted has declined comment on the pending case at this time.


The suit alleges that, for a few days in August 2013 at Takoma Regional Hospital and then continuing until mid-October 2013 at Life Care Center of Greeneville, Tweed was administered powerful drugs that were inappropriate for his medical condition: dementia and Alzheimer's disease (but not mental illness).

The drugs mentioned in the lawsuit -- Seroquel, Geodon and Depakote -- are described in the suit as "extremely powerful psychotropic medications" classified as "atypical anti-psychotic drugs."

Seroquel and Geodon, the suit alleges, "and other atypical anti-psychotic drugs" have been shown to increase death in elderly patients who are suffering from dementia.

Because of that increased risk of death, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required the manufacturers of Seroquel and Geodon to include "black box" warnings about the danger of using those drugs with elderly patients who are suffering from dementia, the suit alleges.

The suit describes Depakote as "an anti-epileptic drug, which is used to treat a variety of epilepsy seizure types as well as acute manic symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder."

But, the suit continues, "It has not been approved by the FDA for use with Alzheimer's disease or dementia."
Many more Details are available at the link

A psychiatrist at Arbour-Fuller Hospital has been reprimanded by the Massachusetts state Board of Registration in Medicine as a result of his arrest on domestic assault charges.

As reported by the Attleboro Sun Chronicle

A psychiatrist at Arbour-Fuller Hospital has been given a reprimand by the state Board of Registration in Medicine as a result of his arrest in 2012 on domestic assault charges.

Dr. Christopher M. Palacios was arrested in 2012 following an altercation with his then wife, and subsequently admitted sufficient facts to charges of misdemeanor assault and battery in 2013. The charges were dismissed last year after Palacios completed a court-ordered anger management course, the board announced.

The board reprimanded Palacios "for engaging in conduct that undermines the public confidence in the integrity of the medical profession."

Palacios, who was then working at Salem Hospital, was arrested after an altercation in Marblehead with his estranged wife.

He was charged with pushing, kicking and sexually assaulting the woman, the Daily Item in Lynn reported at the time. Palacios denied any sexual assault, and that charge was subsequently dropped.

Palacios is a 2000 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine and is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

He has been licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts since 2005 and is currently affiliated with Arbour-Fuller Hospital, according to the board.

The board licenses more than 40,000 physicians, osteopaths and acupuncturists.

Forty Individuals Arrested and Indicted for Social Security Fraud. Psychiatrist at the center of the illegal scheme

As reported in this Department of Justice Press Release. More information and details at the link

On Jan. 12 and 13, 2015, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned 39 separate indictments charging one doctor, Luis Escabi-Pérez, and 39 other individuals for fraud in the application process for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability insurance benefits in Puerto Rico, announced U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez for the District of Puerto Rico.


Escabi-Pérez, a psychiatrist, submitted psychiatric medical reports to the SSA in support of applications for disability insurance benefits submitted by his patients. Escabi-Pérez charged a fee for the medical visits, typically in the amount of $100. In addition, the defendant typically charged a fee in the amount of $500 for the preparation and submittal of a psychiatric medical report to the SSA. He would at times also charge additional fees of up to $5,000 to backdate medical records in order to create the appearance of a longer history of medical treatment.

For example, on Jan. 15, 2014, Escabi-Pérez submitted a medical report to the SSA suggesting that a patient, who was generally in good health and was not suffering from any physical or mental disabling conditions, was in fact suffering from disabling psychiatric conditions, and that the first medical visit of this patient to him was in April 2013, when in truth this patient’s first visit was in November 2013.

The patient initially received $11,242 as a retroactive payment calculated from the date of entitlement through the approval date. Thereafter, the patient received monthly disability insurance benefit payments of approximately $1,536. The total amount of benefits paid to the patient from the date of entitlement through the date of this indictment is approximately $27,096. Escabi-Pérez is also facing one charge of wire fraud. As part of the manner and means of the conspiracy, the doctor faxed the psychiatric report to the SSA supporting the existence of the alleged psychiatric conditions suffered by the patient, in spite of the fact that these psychiatric conditions were contrived.

Five indictments charge five individuals along with Escabi-Pérez of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft of government property, concealment of failure to disclose an event to SSA and false statement in determining rights for disability. These defendants, aiding and abetting each other, knowingly and willfully embezzled, stole and converted to their own use the social security disability insurance benefit payments to which the defendants knew that they were not entitled.

Another five defendants filed SSA applications during 2011, which indicated the defendants were unable to work due to “back problems, cervical conditions, pain, carpal tunnel, arms numbed, legs numbed, depression,” among others. These defendants are charged with theft of government property because they embezzled, stole and converted to their own use, or the use of others, social security disability insurance benefit payments to which they knew they were not entitled. These defendants are also charged with false statement in determining rights for disability because they lied in the disability report (Form SSA-3368). The defendants stated that they stopped working because of their conditions, although the defendants knew that they stopped working because of a release agreement signed with pharmaceutical companies.


The defendants who illegally received the benefits are Wilma Bolet, Juana Concepción-Santana, Miriam Cosme-García, Yesenia De Jesús, Ramona García, María García-Reyes, Pedro Laureano-Vázquez, Juan López-Rivera, Elizabeth Maldonado-Laureano, Fernando Marrero-Padilla, Ernie Martell-Orta, Ángel Montes-Orria, Lourdes Reyes-Medina, Candi, Rojas-Molina, Ángel Román-Santana, Miguel Santana-Ríos, José Valle-Oliveras, Edna Vargas-Valdés, Agustín Vázquez-Izquierdo, Orlando Pérez-Juarbe, Jorge Fraguada-Romero, Elsie Boneta-Román, Julio César Álamo-Casiano, Manuel Rivera-Santos, Francisco Declet, Luis Reyes-Serrano, Ismael Alicea-Berdecía, Rosa Espinosa-González, Johany Díaz-Oquendo, Ángel Rivera-Adorno, Myrna Ruiz-Rosso, William Feliciano, Edwin Figueroa, Ana Morales-de Jesús, Rosa Pagán-Ramos, Alberto Sostre-Cintrón, Constancia Vega-García, Raúl Domínguez and Ana Ruiz-Rivera.

“This case is the result of the continued efforts of the SSA and the FBI. Since August 2013, when 75 individuals were indicted for similar charges, including the current charges, we have filed a total of 115 indictments,” said U.S. Attorney Rodríguez-Vélez. “This is a great example of ongoing efforts by the Government to deter fraud against the social security programs. The Department of Justice is committed to investigate and prosecute those who engage in fraudulent schemes. Hopefully this round of arrests will discourage more people from getting involved in these types of schemes, because the investigation continues.”


“This fraud conspiracy scheme involving unscrupulous medical professionals and SSA disability claimants has been exposed and those involved are being brought to justice. It was only after the analysis of medical source documentation in SSA files that SSA OIG (Office of Inspector General) was able to identify the fraudulent pattern,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Edward J. Ryan of the SSA OIG’sOffice of Investigations. “This intensive and complex investigative work with the FBI and PRPD (Puerto Rico Police Department) consisted of numerous surveillances and other investigative activities that I cannot detail. This intelligence was also shared with the Health and Human Services OIG for their files. The evidence was provided to the U.S. Attorney’s Office which culminated in the additional arrests this morning. OIG will continue to work with our partners to protect the integrity of the Social Security Trust Fund.” “This is another social security disability benefits fraud case where shameless individuals illegally obtained the benefits provided by the federal government,” said Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the FBI’s San Juan Division. “This is not a victimless crime, but rather an outrageous, despicable and reprehensible act that deprives those who truly need assistance. Combating social security disability benefits fraud will continue to be a priority for the FBI in Puerto Rico.” The case was investigated by the SSA-OIG with the collaboration of the FBI and the PRPD. The case was indicted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney María Domínguez and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa D. Bonano-Rodríguez for the District of Puerto Rico.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Era of "Marketing-based Medicine"

From a much longer article by Melissa Sweet, published in Crikey Online

The tactics used by the pharma industry to entrench its influence – whether with politicians, health groups or prescribers – have been hitting the headlines lately.

A story on the cover of the SMHS’s Weekend Business section (beats me why it wasn’t on the paper’s main cover) examined how the industry buys influence in Canberra, and last week Sun Dunlevy splashed in The Daily Telegraph on pharma funding of patient and other health groups. (For more about this particular story, see the bottom of the post)

Meanwhile, Dr Peter Parry, a psychiatrist and senior lecturer at Flinders University, has been investigating internal pharma documents and has come to the conclusion that we live in a world of “marketing-based medicine”. He writes:
“The larger issue is how do we face the outside world when they begin to criticize us for suppressing data…”  AstraZeneca publications manager in internal email 6 Dec 1999.
In recent years doctors and other health professionals have been exhorted to practice “Evidence-based Medicine” or “EBM”. We should prescribe to our patients the right medication based on the best available medical science. Similarly surgeons should select the right implantable prosthesis according to EBM.

However there has been a growing tide of voices claiming EBM is not what it seems, that given the multi-billions of dollars involved, the medical science system has been distorted. The big pharmaceutical companies spend around 11% to 15% on research and development, but they spend around 36% of their budgets on marketing. This influence means much of what passes as EBM, may in fact be “MBM” – “Marketing-based Medicine”.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

University of Iowa's hospital to pay $250K, apologize over patient's suicide

As reported in the Iowa Sun Herald

More details at the link

The University of Iowa's hospital will apologize and pay $250,000 to the family of a psychiatric patient who committed suicide in 2009 while on a short-term leave, under a legal settlement confirmed Wednesday.

Kenneth "Dean" Cabbage, 67, of North Liberty, jumped from a hospital parking ramp after returning from a brief outing with his wife.

The payment and apology letter settle a lawsuit brought by Cabbage's family that challenged the hospital's practice of allowing some psychiatric patients to leave unsupervised for a few hours at a time, typically to see relatives.

The settlement was negotiated days before trial was to begin last month in the lawsuit, which alleged hospital officials failed to keep Cabbage safe. A state panel approved the $250,000 payment Tuesday.

Hospital officials contend that allowing patients to go on temporary leaves is therapeutic and helps gauge whether are ready to leave permanently. But Martin Diaz, an attorney for Cabbage's family, argued that the practice has not been shown to help patients and is risky for those who could be suicidal.

"The whole point of putting somebody in a hospital setting is that they are a potential danger to themselves or others. You don't want them out while they are still potentially in that condition," Diaz said. "They ought to be used very sparingly instead of the way they were used with Mr. Cabbage."

The hospital had paid $200,000 in 2007 to settle another lawsuit brought by a Minnesota man who attempted suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of a building in 2002 after being granted an unescorted leave to attend a group treatment class.
He survived his injuries.

Experts in the Cabbage case testified that such leaves have become rare nationwide since some insurers started questioning hospital stays for patients who are healthy enough to leave for hours at a time.


FDA warns Pfizer's antipsychotic Geodon and generic versions of the drug could cause a fatal skin reaction

As Reported by Reuters

Pfizer Inc's antipsychotic Geodon and generic versions of the drug can trigger a potentially fatal skin reaction, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned on Thursday.

A new warning has been added to the drug's label to describe the condition - known as Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) - which may start as a rash and spread all over. (

Other symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes and organ inflammation.

Geodon, known generically as ziprasidone, is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder by reducing hallucinations, delusions and other psychotic symptoms.

While no deaths have been reported, the regulator reviewed six cases in whom the signs and symptoms of D.R.E.S.S. appeared between 11 and 30 days after ziprasidone treatment was initiated.

Last year, 2.5 million prescriptions for oral formulations of ziprasidone were dispensed, the agency said.

Patients on the drug who have a fever with a rash and/or swollen lymph glands should seek urgent care, the regulator said, advising doctors to halt treatment if they suspect D.R.E.S.S.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Child psychiatrist discovered to have child porn conviction

As reported by DutchNews.NL

A Dordrecht psychiatric clinic, which offers help from a Christian perspective, is employing a psychiatrist with a conviction for possessing large amounts of child pornography, the Volkskrant says on Monday. The man was convicted of possessing 66,000 items of child porn, including rape videos, in 2012. The board of the De Hoop clinic is aware of the conviction and says the doctor ‘deserves a second chance’.

The clinic says the psychiatrist treats adults with addiction problems and does not work with children or the perpetrators or victims of sexual violence. These conditions of employment were formulated by health ministry inspectors, the clinic said.

(The) Television programme De Monitor reported on Sunday that the man, named as Van R, continued to work with the victims of sexual abuse at a different clinic six months after his conviction. He was then sacked when news of his conviction leaked out.

Next week’s programme will focus on his work at De Hoop. Staff and patients at the clinic have now been informed about the psychiatrist’s past.
See the VolksRant Report here

Online Translation Here

The problem is, of course, that psychiatrists admit that they never cure anyone, and that no one can be cured of any medical condition.

Therefore, how can they give a second chance to a child pornographer if they can't cure him of this condition and addiction?>

Sunday, January 11, 2015

South Carolina pays $1.2 million in lawsuit over mentally ill inmate who died

From this Report from channel WLXT 19

much more information and details at the link

The state has paid $1.2 million to the estate of an inmate with mental retardation who died in 2008 after being kept naked for 11 days in solitary confinement and developing hypothermia.

Records from the state Insurance Reserve Fund also show the state paid an additional $199,000 to its private lawyers in the case, which was cited last year by former state Circuit Judge Michael Baxley in his landmark, 45-page order finding the state Department of Corrections had violated the rights of inmates with severe mental illness.

The estate of Jerome Laudman sued individual officers in the case in federal court and filed suit against the prison system in state court. Both cases were settled last year, records show, with the federal suit being dismissed and the state agreeing to pay $1.2 million in the state case.

"We settled the case for 1.2 million," Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said. "Corrections continues to make significant changes and improvements for the safety and security of officers and staff, inmates and the community."

Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, chairman of the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee, said of the settlement that "$1.2 million doesn't bring this man back to life. ... (But) hopefully the family can have closure on that."

Scott Evans, a lawyer for the Laudman estate, said the family of Laudman feels the settlement was a fair one. He said the maximum amount that can be paid in a state medical negligence claim in South Carolina is $1.2 million. He said $600,000 is the limit for a wrongful death claim and $300,000 for other types of claims.


When an investigator looked at the videotape of the transfer of Laudman, he noted that it contained only a few minutes of footage before it went blank, according to the internal report.

The cell was bare, with a concrete pad for sleeping and no blanket, according to the suit. The lawsuit alleges that the entire area was cold and there were problems with the heating system.

Laudman was stripped of all "basic necessities," according to the lawsuit, including mattress, sheets, socks, shoes, underwear and uniform." He also wasn't provided access to his medication while in the Supermax cell, according to the suit.

Four days after Laudman was placed in his new cell, an officer noticed that he was sitting and stooped over "like he was real weak or sick," according to the internal investigative report.

The officer also noted that food trays were piled up near the door, Laudman was naked and the room was bare. The officer didn't report what he saw, according to the report, because when he brought up issues in the past he was told to "leave it alone."


A Plattsburgh psychiatrist has been arrested on a Clinton County Court bench warrant for failing to appear for a recent hearing on prescription forgery charges

As seen in the Press republican

A Plattsburgh psychiatrist was arrested on a Clinton County Court bench warrant for failing to appear for a recent hearing on prescription forgery charges dating back to 2013, police said.

Dr. Anthony Kim, 55, was arrested on Tuesday at his Seth Square apartment on Route 9 in Plattsburgh, according to Plattsburgh City Police Lt. Scott Beebie. His outstanding charges are second-degree forgery of a prescription and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, both felonies.

The investigation began July 18, 2013, when a pharmacy in the City of Plattsburgh reported uncertainty to police about the authenticity of prescriptions Kim had submitted.

In interviews with officers, the psychiatrist admitted he stole the prescription slips and forged another doctor’s signature on them, City Police said soon after his arrest. The prescriptions were for controlled substances and intended for Kim’s personal use, police said.

He was arraigned in Plattsburgh City Court and taken to Clinton County Jail.

He posted $25,000 cash bail the day of his arrest and was released, according to the Clinton County Sheriff's Department.

Kim had been employed at Behavioral Health Services North in Plattsburgh but was fired around the time of his initial arrest in 2013.

His hearing is rescheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, in Clinton County Court, according to the Clinton County Court Clerk's Office.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Psychiatric Hospital Employee Accused Of Having Sexual Contact With 15-Year-Old Patient

As reported by WCHS TV channel 8

West Virginia State Police said an employee of a psychiatric hospital in Morgantown is accused of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old male patient.

Katie Miller, 22, of Smithfield, Pa., was arrested Friday on two counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust, according to a news release from the State Police.

The arrest stems from an investigation that began in late December 2014. The alleged abuse was reported by hospital officials.

During the course of the investigation, Sgt. A.W. Scott of the Crimes Against Children developed probable cause to arrest Miller. She was arraigned in Monongalia County Magistrate Court and released on a $10,000 cash or surety bond.

Investor files Lawsuit against Alcobra Ltd (NASDAQ:ADHD) over alleged Misleading Statements regarding supposed success of ADHD drug

As reported in the WallStreet Scope

An investor, who purchased shares of Alcobra Ltd (NASDAQ:ADHD), filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York over alleged violations of Federal Securities Laws by Alcobra Ltd in connection with certain allegedly false and misleading statements made between March 28, 2014 and November 14, 2014.

Investors who purchased a significant amount of shares of Alcobra Ltd (NASDAQ:ADHD) between March 28, 2014 and November 14, 2014, have certain options and for certain investors are short and strict deadlines running. Deadline: January 19, 2014. NASDAQ:ADHD investors should contact the Shareholders Foundation at or call +1(858) 779 – 1554.

According to the complaint the plaintiff alleges on behalf of purchasers of Alcobra Ltd (NASDAQ:ADHD) common shares between March 28, 2014 and November 14, 2014, that the defendants violated Federal Securities Laws.

More specifically, the plaintiff claims that defendants allegedly misrepresented and/or failed to disclose between March 28, 2014 and November 14, 2014 that its drug candidate Metadoxine Extended Release (“MDX”) did not show a statistical benefit over placebo until patients were removed from the Company’s analysis of the Phase III study, that Alcobra Ltd was presenting it analyses inconsistently, including post hoc analysis outside the original protocols, and that as a result of the foregoing, defendants’ statements about Alcobra’s business, operations and prospects, including statements about the clinical success of MDX, were false and misleading and or lacked a reasonable basis.

On October 6, 2014, Alcobra Ltd announced topline results from its Phase III study of MDX in Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”), and declared that MDX demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in ADHD symptoms. Alcobra Ltd further stated that after removing four patients with extreme placebo responses did MDX demonstrate statistical significance in improving patient symptoms.

The same day an analyst report was published entitled, “Alcobra ADHD Drug Fails Key Study except When Patients Removed From Analysis”.

Then on October 23, 2014, Alcobra Ltd announced the presentation of new data from a Phase III study of MDX in adults with ADHD at the 61st annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Alcobra Ltd also said that “while a complete ITT analysis by ADHD subtypes is still ongoing and was not presented at AACAP, the magnitude of symptom improvement appears to be similar in all subtypes, and the Predominantly-Inattentive ADHD (PI-ADHD) subtype alone did not produce a statistically significant outcome.”

Then, on November 17, 2014, Alcobra Ltd announced that it plans to meet with the FDA and launch a second adult Phase III study in 2015. According to Alcobra Ltd, it is “currently evaluating changes to the design and monitoring of the second trial to control the unusually high placebo response and wide response variability observed in the first Phase III study.” Shares of Alcobra Ltd (NASDAQ:ADHD) declined from $20.37 per share in late September 2014 to as low as $3.12 per share on November 18, 2014.

On January 5, 2015, NASDAQ:ADHD shares closed at $3.95 per share.

Those who purchased shares of Alcobra Ltd have certain options and should contact the Shareholders Foundation.


Shareholders Foundation, Inc.
Michael Daniels
3111 Camino Del Rio North – Suite 423
92108 San Diego
Phone: +1-(858)-779-1554
Fax: +1-(858)-605-5739
Related news item (more info at the link) Alcobra ADHD Drug Fails Key Study Except When Patients Removed From Analysis
Treatment with an experimental formulation of vitamin B6 known as MDX failed to improve the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder compared to placebo, according to phase III study results announced by the developer of the drug, Alcobra (ADHD) , in a statement issued Monday.

However, when Alcobra removed four placebo patients from the analysis because of "extreme" responses, the MDX benefit in the adult ADHD was positive and statistically significant, the company said.

Investors weren't buying the spin. Alcobra shares are down 47% to $7.47 in Monday trading. What's wrong with just excluding some patients and claiming victory? Think about it this way: If baseball statisticians ignored all of Derek Jeter's outs, he batted 1.000 during his major league career.

Alcobra is doing the same thing with the MDX study analysis and it doesn't smell right, either.


Friday, January 09, 2015

New details in the case of Rochester psychiatrist accused of hiding body in backyard

As Reported by WHEC TV

We've learned new details about the discovery of a missing man's body in the backyard of a Rochester psychiatrist's home.

The body of Matthew Straton was discovered on Rowley Street last January.

Police say Doctor William Lewek, who lives at the home, admitted to moving Straton's body and partially burying it. He's charged with tampering with evidence and faces drug charges.

He is not charged in Straton's death. The Monroe County District Attorney's Office says they know the cause of death for Straton, but for privacy reasons they won't reveal it. Prosecutors say it's not going to result in any new charges against Lewek.

We also learned Wednesday that police came to Lewek's house three times looking for Matthew Straton before Lewek admitted that Straton's body was buried in his backyard.

At that time, police had phone records that showed Lewek and Straton talked on the phone before he disappeared. When they showed up at his house last January 15 with a search warrant, Investigator Nicolas Mazzola testified that Lewek told him Straton died from a drug overdose and he buried his body in his backyard.

We asked Assistant District Attorney Kelly Wolford why she thought Lewek waited to reveal the body. She says, "Well it tells me that he didn't want police to know until he had no choice."

Matthew's mother Kym Straton says, "I think the third time he had to admit to it because someone turned him in. He had to admit to it, he was there."

At the hearing on Wednesday, things got a little testy. We overheard Judge Christopher Ciaccio threaten to send Defense Attorney Matt Parrinello to jail if he repeated a question one more time. Parrinello's next question was different. The lawyers are back to argue whether Lewek's statements can be used at trial on January 28.

You may also remember Lewek was arrested in Irondequoit last month for driving while ability impaired by drugs. At the hearing, the judge warned him that if he's caught again using illegal drugs or driving under the influence, the judge will revoke his bail and send him to jail.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Psychiatric diagnosis of schizophrenia is not compatible with the facts of modern science

A Few thoughts prompted by this article in Psychology Today

The Oct 16 issue of the Scientific American has a short piece on “Massive Study Reveals Schizophrenia’s Genetic Roots.” These roots are, we learn, incredibly complicated. A huge consortium involving more than 300 scientists from 35 countries found “128 gene variants associated with schizophrenia, in 108 distinct locations in the human genome.”

Wow, eh?

This “genome-wide association study” found so many mutations in the molecular pairs of the 113,000 people it studied that . . . I can’t tell you. The mind boggles at how complicated “schizophrenia” must be.

Unless there is no such thing as schizophrenia.

The obvious conclusion seems not to have occurred to the Scientific American commentators: It is not that schizophrenia is “incredibly complicated,” but that there are several different diseases buried under the term “schizophrenia,” each with a genetics of its own.


It is a sign of the diminished American interest in psychopathology that all of these symptoms, which are highly diverse, each pointing in a different direction, have all been lumped together as “schizophrenia,” which makes as much sense as lumping measles, syphilis, and gangrene together as “skin diseases.”

[...] it was all dumped together in the same cauldron. Catatonia, adolescent insanity, psychosis at midlife, paranoia, who cares? It was all “schizophrenia.”

And this is the inheritance we’re now living with, as the geneticists take the phenotypes they’ve inherited from psychiatry and try to make sense of the anomalies they find on the DNA – which up to now, after billions of dollars and decades of research – have been indecipherable.

So, hunting for schizophrenia’s “genetic roots,” are we? Good luck with that.
But it all gets worse. As seen in this blog article "Biology and Genetics are Irrelevant Once True Causes are Recognized"
As superbly reviewed by psychologist John Read in the 2013 second edition of Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Psychosis, since the turn of the 21st century many studies have linked schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions to childhood adversities such as having experienced bullying, emotional abuse, incest, neglect, parental loss, physical abuse, or sexual abuse—findings that are well known to clinicians who work with people diagnosed with psychotic disorders.

Read reviewed research linking schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders to social environments such as poverty, racism, migratory stress, and urbanicity. He concluded, “There is ample evidence that inequality, deprivation and discrimination, filtered through their social and personal meanings, are key causal factors in psychosis.” Psychological processes identified by Read and his colleagues, through which childhood adversities may lead to symptoms of psychosis later in life, include attachment, dissociation, dysfunctional cognitive processes, psychodynamic defenses, problematic coping responses, impaired access to social support, behavioral sensitization, and revictimization. A biologically oriented commentator might object that even if these factors play a role in causing schizophrenia and psychosis, only people who are genetically predisposed will develop them, and it is therefore important to understand and study hereditary factors. Aside from the fact that the evidence in support of genetics is weak, a clear understanding of the environmental causes of a condition frequently renders potential genetic factors irrelevant.

For example, 33 miners were trapped underground for 69 days in a copper mine near Copiapó, Chile in 2010. Although the miners were finally rescued and were treated as heroes, and in some cases as celebrities, many subsequently developed severe psychological symptoms caused by their ordeal, such as depression, anxiety, nightmares, and avoidant behavior. Because the causes of these symptoms are obvious and recognized, no one to my knowledge has suggested that the miners have genetically based brain disorders or “chemical imbalances.” It is clear that the miners’ experiences caused their symptoms, and the symptoms of most psychiatric conditions can also be seen in this way.
Simply, psychiatric diagnoses are not compatible with the facts of modern science

Psychiatrist Claudio de Novaes Soares faces hearing for sex abuse allegations

As reported by the CBC News

A Hamilton psychiatrist has a disciplinary hearing with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons two years after allegations emerged that he sexually abused a female patient.

Dr. Claudio de Novaes Soares has not be licensed to practice medicine in Ontario since Sept. 1, 2012, around the same time he was set to take a high profile post at the University of Alberta as the head of the psychiatry program there.

Soares resigned his position with UofA around Sept. 24, two weeks after CBC News revealed allegations that he had sexual relations with a female patient while he was practicing at a Hamilton office affiliated with McMaster University.

A document outlining Soares’s disciplinary hearing at the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons alleges that between Nov. 2007 to May 2009 he made sexual remarks toward the female patient — referred to only as Patient A — and also engaged in fellatio and had sex with the woman.

“This behaviour constituted sexual abuse of Patient A by Dr. Soares and/or disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct by Dr. Soares,” the document alleges.

The document also alleges Soares has “failed to co-operate” with an investigator assigned to his case.

He’s also accused of being “engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.”

Soares is set to appear at a series of disciplinary hearings in Toronto from Jan. 12-16 and Jan. 26-30, most of which will likely run throughout the entire day.

If the College’s discipline panel finds the accusations against Soares to be true, he may be reprimanded, fined up to $35,000 and his certificate of registration may be revoked.

While at McMaster, Soares was the associate chair of research in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences. He was also director of the Women's Health Concerns Clinic.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Sides discussing settlement in lawsuit over busing of Nevada mental patients

From a Report in the Las Vegas Sun

be sure to check out the link for more information

Settlement talks have emerged in a class action lawsuit accusing Nevada of misusing public funds for busing mentally ill patients to California.

The talks are the latest in a 16-month legal battle between Nevada and the city and county of San Francisco. A successful negotiation would end one of three busing-related lawsuits facing Nevada. Any money would compensate California for harboring indigent patients who were discharged from Nevada psychiatric facilities and given one-way bus tickets with directors to seek help in California. The settlement also would aim to outline new rules for transporting patients across state lines.

California officials say the busing cost San Francisco at least $4 million to treat 21 patients from Nevada, according to legal documents in a San Francisco district court. The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office said it has the names of 500 patients who traveled to California from Las Vegas’ Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital between 2008 to 2013. It’s unclear how many of the 500 sought treatment once they arrived in California.

Officials from both states declined to comment on the details of the settlement negotiations — a standard practice during legal settlements.

“Those are confidential by mutual agreement,” said Matt Dorsey, spokesman in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.

Officials in Nevada’s Attorney General’s Office declined to comment for the story.


The news first broke after the Sacramento Bee newspaper uncovered that James Flavy Coy Brown, a Rawson-Neal patient, was sent on a 15-hour bus ride to Sacramento with no arrangements for care, housing or treatment. Hospital staff allegedly gave Brown a one-way bus ticket, peanut butter crackers and a three-day supply of medication to treat his schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. He had no family or friends in the area and was reportedly told to call 911 when he arrived.

They solved their budget problems by shipping the patients out of state.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Illinois regulators have disciplined Springfield psychiatrist Dr. Duttala Obula Reddy for alleged sexual misconduct with a female patient.

Springfield (Illinois) psychiatrist suspended for ‘sexually inappropriate’ conduct

A Springfield psychiatrist who took over the care of a female patient victimized by “sexually inappropriate” conduct at the hands of another psychiatrist in the same clinic was disciplined by the state this week for sexual misconduct with the patient.

Officials from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued a temporary suspension of the license of Dr. Duttala Obula Reddy, a psychiatrist at Psychiatric Associates of Central Illinois, 1124 S. Sixth St.

For the time being, the state's action prevents Reddy from continuing to practice medicine legally. Reddy, a 64-year-old Chatham resident, couldn't be reached for comment, and an office manager at Psychiatric Associates didn't return a phone call from The State Journal-Register.

According to documents from the state, Reddy began providing psychiatric care and treatment to the woman at Psychiatric Associates in 2013 after her previous psychiatrist, Dr. Kripakaran Puvalai, resigned from the clinic in September 2013.

Puvalai, 58, was suspended from the practice of medicine by the state in October 2013 for engaging “in a pattern of sexually inappropriate conduct with multiple female patients of Psychiatric Associates.” Those patients included the patient whose care was taken over by Reddy, state officials said.

Puvalai, whose license remains suspended, was disciplined for flirting with and inappropriately touching several female patients between 2009 and 2013 while he practiced at Psychiatric Associates and worked as a consulting psychiatrist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' outpatient clinic in Springfield.

Puvalai also was punished in the early 2000s by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, during his psychiatry training in Springfield, for a lack of professional conduct and failure to maintain appropriate boundaries with patients.


This isn't the first time Reddy has been punished for conduct that allegedly crossed professional boundaries.

Read more:

This is one of those things that just invokes rage

A hidden outbreak of sexual abuse in British hospitals has been discovered, based on police reports in the last three years. A significant proportion of victims were molested by mental health personnel.

As Reported in the Guardian

Be sure the check out the full story at the link Also see this related news item in the Dailly Mail and this news report in the BBC from last year

Sexual violence soars in UK hospitals

Records show 50% rise in reports of sexual attacks, with more than 1,600 in past three years

A hidden outbreak of sexual abuse in British hospitals has been disclosed in new figures revealing that more than 1,600 attacks were reported to police in the last three years.

Records obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act show a 50% rise in reports of sexual violence in hospitals since 2011. It includes a total of at least 157 rape allegations.

Statistics on sexual abuse reports in hospitals were released by 38 out of 45 UK police forces. They document 1,615 attacks that are known about including cases on NHS wards, private clinics and other health centres. But prosecutors have said that up to 90% of sexual abuse goes unreported, suggesting the true figure could be much higher.

Last year the Metropolitan police received reports of 17 rapes and 124 other sex abuse crimes inside London hospitals.

Most police forces were unable to provide a firm breakdown of the types of hospitals where rapes and sexual abuse had been reported. However, the Met, which accounted for 20% of all reports, said the issue was a particular problem in mental health units, with a significant proportion of alleged victims identified as vulnerable due to mental health problems.

Luciana Berger, the shadow minister for public health, said the figures revealed a serious problem for the NHS and called for an urgent review of hospital security.

Individual cases of abuse in hospitals have been well documented but this is the first time the scale of the problem has been reported. The figures account for all reports of abuse, although a small number are understood to relate to historic attacks that occurred before 2011.

One victim described being groomed by her mental health support officer for five months. When she bumped into him years later it triggered a suicide attempt before she eventually reported him. However, the man resigned before the investigation concluded and authorities were unable to take action against him.

“I was in a vulnerable position at the time; certainly not in a position to consent to what he was doing,” she told the Guardian. “What have I gained by coming forward? Nothing. I’m just a person who has made allegations that haven’t been proven.”

In another case, a mental health patient described psychiatric hospitals as a “playground for predators”, after she was raped up to 60 times by a member of staff. The woman had been taken to Little Brook hospital in Kent after a breakdown and was warned she would be sectioned if she tried to leave. She described her ordeal to the BBC earlier this year. “At times I was on a very heavy amount of Valium, not to where I was unconscious, but the sedative combined with my already defeated self, I was like putty. He would pull the covers back, do what he had to do and leave, all very quickly. I didn’t move.”

When asked whether anyone else at the hospital knew about her abuse, the woman said: “I strongly suspect it can’t have been completely missed. I can’t believe how it could have been so frequent and not picked up on.”

She was eventually paid £100,000 compensation, but her attacker avoided jail after receiving a suspended sentence. A third case saw the care assistant Naraindrakoomar Sahodree jailed in 2010 for repeatedly raping a multiple sclerosis sufferer in her bed at a central London hospital. He had managed to get the job despite already being struck off the nurses’ register. In court, his victim said that Sahodree made sure she could not call for help by removing her warning buzzer.

Berger said: “A zero-tolerance approach to sexual abuse must be pursued in the NHS. All victims should feel safe to come forward and every incident properly dealt with by the police, courts and health service, to ensure every perpetrator is brought to justice.”

Berger said it was particularly worrying that people in mental health units appeared to be at high risk. “These are often some of the most vulnerable patients and their safety must be guaranteed,” she said. “Ministers must order an immediate review of security, with a focus on mental health units.”

Nat Miles, senior policy and campaigns officer at Mind, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that sexual abuse is so prevalent within mental health units. Many people told us they are often seen as vulnerable and therefore an easy target by perpetrators, and are more easily discredited and less likely to be taken seriously if they report a crime.” She added: “Too often, crimes on wards are dealt with internally and not reported to police. It’s vital that frontline staff are adequately trained, so crimes are taken seriously, and dealt with quickly and appropriately.” An NHS England spokesperson said: “It is of course essential that both NHS and independent hospitals do everything to ensure that patients are safe and feel safe in their premises, and where concerns arise the police must be able to bring to bear the full force of the law.”

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Class Action Lawsuit Alleges that Surveillance of Mental Health Records is Unconstitutional

As reported by CourtHouse News.

Read the full report at the link

New York State is collecting confidential information on mental health patients to create a database of people it deems unfit to carry a firearm, according to a federal class action.

Lead plaintiff Donald Montgomery claims the state created a reporting system, as part of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (Safe Act), that forces health professionals to transmit mental health patients' confidential information to a database shared by various government agencies, including law enforcement. It was part of the state's response to the rash of mass shootings over the past several years, in particular, that in Newtown, Conn.

Montgomery estimates that medical providers have reported such information on more than 60,000 people.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the lead defendant, signed the Safe Act into law in January 2013. Montgomery calls him "the principal architect of the Act."

New York Mental Hygiene Law 9.46 compels health professionals to report patients' data to the state if they feel the patients' actions are "likely to result in serious harm to self or others," the complaint states.

"The personal health information amassed includes, but is not limited to, any mental health diagnosis of a patient. The personal health information is shared by numerous agencies, including, but not limited to law enforcement and non-state agencies and offices," the lawsuit states.

"The state does not use a subpoena to obtain this confidential personal health information. The state has made the affirmative misrepresentation to medical professionals and others that transmitting this data is lawful."

Neither the state nor the treatment providers notify patients about the information sharing, the lawsuit states. It adds: "The Office of Mental Health underplays and misrepresents the seriousness of the personal health information being transmitted. The state intends its operations around MHL 9.46 to be conducted in a secretive and over-reaching manner."

The law defines mental health professionals as physicians, psychologists, registered nurses and social workers, according to the lawsuit.