Thursday, April 30, 2015

Psychotherapist accused of sexually assaulting court-referred patient

From the report on Michigan Live

A Flint-area psychotherapist is behind bars after authorities claim he sexually abused a patient who was referred to him by the court. Hugh McQuade of Burton was arraigned Wednesday, April 29, on 14 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Authorities claim he coerced a Genesee County probationer into sex acts.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said the 46-year-old victim was on probation following her conviction on a felony cocaine charge and was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation. Pickell said the woman, who is not being named because she is the victim of an alleged sex crime, went to McQuade, who practiced at the Oakland Psychological Clinic, to fulfill the terms of her probation.

McQuade, 67, allegedly exposed his genitals to the woman while at the clinic, according to Pickell. The actions then allegedly evolved into groping and oral sex, the sheriff said. Pickell said he believes there were at least 14 separate incidents of inappropriate sexual contact between McQuade and the victim."She was forced into doing it," Pickell alleged.

Representatives from the clinic declined to comment on the case. The clinic's website lists McQuade as a staff member at its 2222 S. Linden Road location in Flint Township.

Pickell said his office became aware of the allegations after the victim was arrested for violating her probation by having a drug relapse. The sheriff said McQuade was arrested within two hours of the victim notifying his office of the incident. The victim is still in custody for the suspected probation violation.

A search warrant was executed and Pickell claimed his investigators discovered sexually explicit photos and videos involving McQuade and the victim. There was no attorney listed on file for McQuade.

The incident remains under investigation, and Pickell said he believes at least one other woman may have been victimized. "He's a wolf in sheep's clothing," Pickell said of McQuade. McQuade is held on $20,000 bond for each count. The charges carry a mandatory 15-year minimum prison sentence if convicted. Pickell said roughly half of McQuade's patients were court-referred.


The rest of the article was an attempt at damage control regarding court appointed psychotherapists.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Child molestation case against child psychologist Kenneth McPherson is moving out of limbo

From the Augusta Chronicle (See the link for a photo)

Psychologist Kenneth McPherson, 58, was named in two indictments that accuse him of committing acts of child molestation in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011. McPherson has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court.

Since 2011, the criminal cases have been placed on trial calendars but later postponed. In January, Assistant District Attorney Rex Myers and attorney Kirk Gilliard presented an order to Chief Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet to put McPherson’s cases on the dead docket because the prosecutor could not find several necessary witnesses.

Although the order was signed and dated Jan. 12, it wasn’t filed with the clerk’s office until Wednesday, when a motion requesting the cases be removed from the dead docket was also filed. According to the motion filed by Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine, the witnesses have been located and interviewed.

Although McPherson wasn’t indicted until 2011, parents of some of his patients warned authorities that something was wrong in 2005. The mothers of two boys reported inappropriate sexual behavior that the children said they learned at McPherson’s office. But one of the boys was unable to communicate with a forensic child interviewer, and the second child’s statement was not thought to be strong enough to file charges.

In early 2011, however, more specific allegations were brought forward and sheriff investigators obtained search warrants for McPherson’s Central Avenue office. Investigators reported finding sexually explicit materials and a photograph of a child dressed only in underwear that had been taken in the office.

McPherson was indicted June 7, 2011, on seven counts of child molestation and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. Overstreet, who is assigned to preside over the case, granted McPherson’s release on a $200,000 bond Aug. 16, 2011.

McPherson was licensed in 1990 in Georgia to practice psychology. His license expired Dec. 31, 2012, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Enyinnaya Ezema, Canadian (formerly UK) Psychiatrist, charged with assault, loses license

According to CBC News

Dr. Enyinnaya Ezema has been charged with assault stemming from an incident on Dec. 16, said Const. Ken MacDonald of the New Glasgow Regional Police. The police responded to a call at an outpatient facility on East River Road in New Glasgow. The incident did not take place at the Aberdeen Hospital, MacDonald said.

As of April 21, Ezema is no longer licensed to practise medicine in the province. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia said Ezema cannot practise because he had a licence that was conditional on the support of a sponsor. Dr. Gus Grant, the registrar and CEO of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, said earlier this week that Ezema’s sponsor withdrew the sponsorship. The college does not know why the sponsor withdrew, said Grant.

Legislation says the sponsor is “usually a senior physician, typically, the head of a department or chief of staff,” said Grant.

“It’s a decision entirely for the sponsor to make,” he continued. “In fact, this is a question that’s been assessed in our courts and it’s well established that a decision with respect to sponsorship resides with the individual sponsor.” Before the assault charge was revealed, CBC News contacted the Nova Scotia Health Authority in Pictou for information about why Ezema was no longer practising. They declined an interview. “The Nova Scotia Health Authority is not commenting on this suspension nor can we discuss the reasons for it,” said Eileen MacIsaac.

Ezema is due in Pictou provincial court on May 19.

The psychiatrist came to Pictou County from the United Kingdom and started his psychiatry practice in December 2012, according to a release from the local health authority at the time.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Florida Psychiatrist Mark Agresti sued over treatment of West Palm Beach woman who killed daughter and herself

Here is the Local TV WPBF News Reports

with this related report

Bradley Brooks was so concerned about his 10-year-old-daughter Alexandra, on Sept. 12, 2013, he asked the police to check the home she shared with her mother Pamela Brooks. Police went to the home located at 139 Gregory Place and found Alexandra and Pamela inside, both stabbed to death. Pamela Brooks was found with 130 self-inflicted stab wounds. Her daughter was found with 30 stab wounds. Police ruled the case a murder-suicide.

The girl's father is now suing a psychiatrist and a substance abuse counselor who were treating Pamela Brooks.

According to the lawsuit, Pamela Brooks had a lifetime of alcohol abuse. Beginning in 1999 her alcohol abuse began causing problems in her life. The lawsuit also states, Bradley Brooks filed an emergency request for custody of their daughter back in May of 2013, just weeks after her mother was arrested for DUI. The lawsuit states, Pamela Brooks was ordered to a comprehensive psychological evaluation and was seen several times by the doctor. Her next scheduled appointment was for Sept. 13, 2013. She and her daughter were found dead inside their home Sept. 12, 2013.

According to the lawsuit filed last week, Brooks doctor is accused of "Failing to clearly communicate that Pamela Brooks was at risk of inflicting harm to herself or to others," and "Failing to refer Pamela Brooks to a physician trained in the management of patients suffering from severe depression," the suit states.

Both the doctor and counselor are accused of negligence.
And as reported in the Palm Beach Post
A psychiatrist and a substance abuse counselor who were treating a West Palm Beach woman who killed herself and her 10-year-old daughter in September 2013 have been sued in connection with the deaths that stunned the community. In the lawsuit filed last week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, family members of Pamela and Alexandra Brooks blame Dr. Mark Agresti and counselor David Dashev for the murder-suicide.

The two “knew or should have known that Pamela Brooks was at risk of inflicting harm to herself, or to others,” according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Glenn Crickenberger, who works for the Stuart law firm of famed lawyer Willie Gary. “However, (they) failed to refer Pamela Brooks to a physician trained in the management of patients suffering from severe depression.”

Brooks, 48, was found dead in the living room of her Gregory Place home with 130 self-inflicted stab wounds. The body of her daughter was found in the kitchen with 30 stab wounds, the suit says. The deaths so shocked the community that the city’s then police chief took the unusual step of calling a press conference to announce they had been ruled a murder-suicide. The grisly scene was discovered by Brooks’ ex-husband, Bradley, who broke into the home because he was concerned about his daughter, a King’s Academy student.

Dashev, former chief operations officer of the Mental Health Pavilion at what is now West Palm Hospital, declined comment on the suit. Agresti couldn’t be reached.

Pamela Brooks had been ordered to seek treatment from Agresti and Dashev by Circuit Judge Thomas Barkdull in May 2013 after Bradley Brooks filed an emergency request for custody of the couple’s daughter. The request came weeks after Pamela Brooks was arrested for driving under the influence.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Bradley Brooks and his ex-wife’s parents, Martin and Evelyn Hewson, details Pamela Brooks long struggle with alcohol abuse. It also indicates she initially responded to treatment by Agresti and Dashev. Treated daily with Antabuse, a drug designed to reduce cravings for alcohol, medical records in June and July 2013 showed she was “compliant and that her spirits were good,” the lawsuit says.

In August, the tenor of the notes changed. They indicate she had resumed drinking. Questions were raised about whether she needed residential care. “There was a discussion with Ms. Brooks regarding depression and the presence of suicidal ideation,” the suit says.

From Aug. 16 to Sept. 6, 2013, she was seen about 10 times by Agresti and Dashev. “During several of these visits Pamela described her overall condition as being characterized by anxiety and tension,” the suit states. “She described herself as feeling overwhelmed, angry and upset stemming from her DUI and all the changes in her life that the DUI has caused.” A day before her next appointment, she killed herself and her daughter.

The suit accuses Agresti and Dashev of negligence. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Windsor psychiatrist Dr. Ravi Shenava charged with sexual assault

from the the Windsor Star

Dr. Ravi Shenava, 64, attended police headquarters March 9 and was arrested and subsequently charged. Police launched an investigation after a 28-year-old woman came forward Jan. 30, alleging a sexual assault had occurred at her psychiatrist’s office that day.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Windsor police at 519-255-6700, ext. 4830, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477, online at or at Submit a Tip on Facebook.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Depression is NOT caused by low serotonin levels and most drugs used to treat it are based on a myth, leading psychiatrist claims

As Reported in the Daily Mail

  • David Healy is head of psychiatry at the Hergest psychiatry unit in Bangor
  • Claims the idea low levels of serotonin causes depression is a fallacy
  • Marketing of SSRI drugs like Prozac has been 'based on a myth', he claims
  • Experts refute his claims saying 'SSRIs work in the real world of the clinic'
The belief that the most popular antidepressant drugs raise serotonin levels in the brain is nothing more than a myth, a leading professor of psychiatry has claimed.

David Healy, head of psychiatry at the Hergest psychiatric unit in Bangor, North Wales, said the misconception that low levels of serotonin were responsible for depression had become established fact.

He suggested that the success of so-called SSRI drugs – which include Prozac and Seroxat – was based on the ‘marketing of a myth’.

The emergence of these serotonin reuptake inhibiting (SSRI) drugs in the late 1980s came after concerns about tranquilliser use to treat depression.

Even though they were weaker than old-style tricyclic antidepressants, they took off because of the idea that SSRIs restored serotonin levels to normal, ‘a notion that later transmuted into the idea that they remedied a chemical imbalance’.

In an editorial in the BMJ, Professor Healy said that in the 1990s, no one knew if SSRIs raised or lowered serotonin levels but there was no evidence that treatment corrected anything.


The full BMJ editorial "Serotonin and Depression" is available in PDF format here

Much of the article was taken up by people trying to refute the attack on their paychecks.

Eleven psychiatrists disciplined at Japanese hospital – fraudulent applications. Newspaper “astounded by the lack of morals”

From The Yomiuri Shimbun [Japan News] (google translate)

We are astounded by the lack of morals of people engaged in medical services at a hospital. It is vital that a thorough investigation is conducted into whether inappropriate medical examinations or treatments were carried out.

At St. Marianna University School of Medicine Hospital in Kawasaki, 11 doctors were recently found to have made fraudulent applications to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to acquire the special status of designated psychiatrist. The health ministry stripped 20 psychiatrists at the hospital, including attending doctors, of the special status. It is believed to be unprecedented for such a large number of doctors to be disciplined for involvement in acquiring the special status by fraudulent means.

There are 14,630 designated psychiatrists working across the country. Through the authority of a prefectural governor or an equivalent official, these psychiatrists are allowed to decide whether mental patients should be “involuntarily hospitalized” to ensure that they do not hurt themselves or others. They are also permitted to decide on “hospitalization for medical protection” for mental patients after receiving consent from the patients’ relatives. As designated psychiatrists have the authority to restrict a patient’s movements, doctors with sufficient knowledge and ample experience in this field are designated by the health minister, on the basis of the Mental Health and Welfare Law. Seeking this status through fraudulent applications is as if the status certification system is not being taken seriously.

To apply for the special status, applicants must have at least three years of working experience as a psychiatrist and to have submitted case reports on at least eight of their patients. The 11 doctors had rewritten the reports of cases treated by senior doctors and submitted them to the ministry as if they themselves had treated the cases. This is abominable.

‘Normal’ practice

What must not be overlooked is that such methods were used so often they had become a normal practice. The hospital has admitted that the transfer of data entered in the reports was carried out by these doctors. The attending doctors also failed in their function of checking such practices. This is indeed a serious problem.

The hospital reportedly became aware of the fraudulent applications of these doctors after the health ministry pointed out striking similarities in the reports. Doctors who obtained the special status fraudulently have decided on involuntary hospitalization of four mental patients and hospitalization for medical protection of about 100 patients.

If doctors made wrong medical judgments to forcibly hospitalize patients, this would constitute a serious human rights problem. Both the Kawasaki city government and the hospital need to delve deeply into the matter to clarify the situation. A designated psychiatrist is eligible for preferential treatment in terms of remuneration for medical services. With the fraudulent acquisition of the special status by these doctors, the hospital received about ¥1.7 million more than it normally would through the treatment of outpatients. Naturally, the hospital has said it will return the money.

With the retraction of the status, the hospital has scaled down treatment in its neuropsychiatric department. As a result, local medical services have been affected.

To prevent a recurrence of fraudulent applications, the health ministry plans to speed up its efforts to make a database of submitted reports in order to determine whether reports have distinct similarities. The ministry will also investigate whether there are similar illicit activities at other hospitals.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bronx Child Psychologist Justin Miller Accused of Trying to Meet 14-Year-Old Girl for Sex

A report from NBC TV New York

A 34-year-old child psychologist at the Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx has been arrested for allegedly engaging in sexually explicit online conversations with an undercover detective he thought was a 14-year-old girl, authorities said Wednesday.

The psychologist, Justin Miller, was arrested Tuesday in the Bronx as a result of the three-month investigation. An online profile says he has eight years of experience.

Since January, authorities allege Miller engaged in the explicit sexual conversations with the undercover detective and at what point said he wanted to meet the 14-year-old girl he thought he was chatting with for sex. Police say he admitted to engaging in the sex chats with someone he believed to be a teenager.

Miller was charged with disseminating indecent material to a minor and acting in a manner injurious to a child younger than 17, which is a felony.

An email request to Miller seeking comment bounced back, and information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine referred questions about the case to police. Miller was not listed on the college's website Wednesday.
Of course, sometimes psychologists get in on the action normally reserved for shrinks

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Psychiatric patient kills himself at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina

From the Charlotte Observer

A patient at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center killed himself in the seventh-floor psychiatric unit April 6, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

The incident involved a 56-year-old Rock Hill man about 4 a.m. on the Monday after Easter. Police investigated and concluded the man committed suicide, according to the April 6 incident report.

The man’s death comes 16 months after another Presbyterian patient attempted suicide by jumping out a window on the same unit. The 25-year-old man suffered broken bones but survived.

The latest incident was reported by Novant Health to the state’s Division of Health Service Regulation, said Alexandra Lefebvre, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. She said details are not released until an investigation is completed.
Naturally, Novant Health issued a generic statement asserting that they follow the best practices, they are taking things seriously, etc.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Two psychiatrists at Terrell State Hospital resigned this week after they were accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a pharmaceutical company

From the Texas Tribune. More information in the original report

Two psychiatrists at Terrell State Hospital resigned this week after being told they would face disciplinary action for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a pharmaceutical company to promote the drug Seroquel, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

According to agency documents, Dr. Anthony Claxton, the hospital's clinical director, and Dr. Lisa Perdue, a psychiatrist, received large amounts of money from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to promote the company’s drugs to other doctors and state regulators.

Claxton and Perdue were notified Tuesday by DSHS that they had violated department rules and faced possible termination. By the end of the week, both had resigned, a DSHS spokeswoman said.

Claxton is accused of taking $231,000 from AstraZeneca for “promotional speaking and consulting services” on at least 166 occasions dating back to 2005. Perdue allegedly received $615,525 for 460 such instances since 2005. State health code forbids employees from accepting other compensation that could affect their official duties.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Utah Child Psychiatrist David Wilson Now Faces Criminal Charges Related to Child Pornography. Has Lost Job, License Revoked

From the Standard Examiner

David Ford Wilson, 43, is charged with 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He entered not guilty pleas to the charges on July 16, 2014.

At a Hearing today, Judge Scott Hadley scheduled a hearing for oral arguments on May 8.

Wilson was investigated by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, with assistance from the FBI in 2013, officials had said.

In late March of 2013, Intermountain Healthcare’s information system security department found that Wilson’s computer was being accessed to download and view child pornography. He was immediately terminated and the incident was reported to police.

Detectives served a search warrant for Wilson’s hard drive and after a forensic analysis, which can take a lengthy amount of time, he was arrested on Sept. 6, 2013.

Wilson was an osteopathic physician as well as an child psychiatrist for Weber County. The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing revoked his license to practice medicine and prescribe drugs. A panel of three doctors reviewed the case and made an emergency motion to suspend Wilson. McKay-Dee Hospital also released a statement in 2013 that said there is no evidence that any of Wilson’s patients were at risk.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More Evidence Antidepressants Might Induce Sexual Dysfunction Even After Stopping Them

From the Website "Mad In America"

A retrospective study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry identified 183 possible cases of people who suffered sexual dysfunction that endured even after stopping taking SSRI antidepressants. Of these, the Israeli researchers identified "23 high-probability cases" of "Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction" (PSSD).

"Possible cases were subjects with normal pretreatment sexual function who first experienced sexual disturbances while using a single SSRI/SNRI, which did not resolve upon drug discontinuation for 1 month or longer," wrote the researchers. "High-probability cases were also younger than 50-year-olds; did not have confounding medical conditions, medications, or drug use; and had normal scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale."

"Limitations of the study include retrospective design and selection and report biases that do not allow generalization or estimation of incidence," noted the researchers. "However, our findings add to previous reports and support the existence of PSSD, which may not be fully explained by alternative nonpharmacological factors related to sexual dysfunction, including depression and anxiety."

The website RxISK has been tracking cases of apparent post-SSRI sexual dysfunction.

Ben-Sheetrit, Joseph, Dov Aizenberg, Antonei B. Csoka, Abraham Weizman, and Haggai Hermesh. “Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction: Clinical Characterization and Preliminary Assessment of Contributory Factors and Dose-Response Relationship.” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, March 2015, 1. doi:10.1097/JCP.0000000000000300. (Abstract)
Of course, this side effect has become another medical condition to treat.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Texas Medical Board hands out meger $5,000 dollar penalty for psychiatrist sex with patient.

As Reported on the East Texas Matters Website, an announcement from the Texas Medical Board which can also be found here (PDF)

On April 10, 2015, the Board and Fermin Briones, jr., M.D., entered into an Agreed Order publicly reprimanding Dr. Briones and requiring him to within 30 days undergo
  • an independent medical evaluation and
  • follow all recommendations for care and treatment;
  • within one year and three attempts pass the medical jurisprudence exam;
  • within one year complete at least 16 hours of in-person cme, divided as follows:
    1. eight hours in ethics and
    2. eight hours in HIPAA compliance;
  • and pay an administrative penalty of $5,000 within 90 days.
  • The board found Dr. Briones engaged in unprofessional conduct
  • by having a sexual relationship with a patient and
  • continuing to have inappropriate contact with the patient after the filing of the complaint alleging a sexual relationship had occurred with the patient; and
  • violated state and federal patient confidentiality laws through his filing of a lawsuit seeking a restraining order against the patient.
  • The initial Texas Medical Board report can be found here
    Briones, Fermin, Jr., M.D., Lic. No. N0660, San Antonio On January 29, 2015 a disciplinary panel of the Texas Medical Board temporarily suspended, with notice, the Texas medical license of Fermin Briones, Jr., M.D., a San Antonio psychiatrist, after determining his continuation in the practice of medicine poses a continuing threat to public welfare. The suspension was effective immediately. The Board panel found that on June 6, 2014, a report with the Alamo Heights Police Department was filed alleging that Dr. Briones had initiated and nurtured a sexual relationship with a patient. Physical evidence, including videos, emails, and texts messages, demonstrate there was a sexual relationship. Dr. Briones continued to communicate with the patient via email and attempted to persuade her to not participate in the Board proceedings. On December 30, 2014, Dr. Briones sent an email to the patient threatening to report her to her professional licensing board should she continue to participate in the proceedings against him at the Board. The temporary suspension remains in place until the Board takes further action.
    Here is a previous local TV news report

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Jerusalem psychiatrist arrested for sexually assaulting and molesting patients for five years

    As Reported in the Israeli site MyNet. (English text via Google Translate)

    Neve Yaakov presented himself as a psychotherapist being anxious couples, a patient suspected of having committed indecent acts and other women. During interrogation he claimed that he did things without any sexual connotation

    Haredi attending a patient suspected of defilement and indecent assault in patients more. The suspect, a resident of Neve Yaakov 44, was arrested this week by the Jerusalem Central Unit for suspected molesting his patients and even slept with one of them. According to the allegations, he hired an ultra-Orthodox organization treatment rooms located in Givat Shaul and there probably carried out his scheme.

    The affair began a few weeks ago, then Jerusalem Central Unit received a complaint of ultra-Orthodox woman who claims that within the last treatment with the suspect is committed indecent acts. Among other things, she told the woman that he would sit her on it and pat it under your clothes. Immediately after receiving the complaint, the police began investigation. The researchers, led by Chief of youth exposure, Superintendent Golan Meiri, came another woman who claimed that he touched her vagina.

    The suspect claimed during questioning that is anxious couples psychotherapist parity problems but deals mainly with individual women. He rented a room in the structure of the ultra-Orthodox Associations Givat Shaul where he received the women. It is suspected that he had treated this way Orthodox women for five years. Police point out that he used to sexually exploit the Mtoflotio significant number of cases.

    Even before his arrest, trial proceedings against him took place in the Haredi community in so-called ‘Forum Regulation. Apparently the procedure did not produce fruit, and that’s what made the first complainant to contact the police. Near the police made the arrest raid on where the organization operates, and from there were taken additional evidence supporting the allegations. However, police point out that the organization itself has no connection to the event and there is no suspicion of its abnormal behavior.

    In his interrogation, the suspect claimed that everything was carried out as part of treatment and without any sexual connotation. Police continue to investigate, among other things, trying to get other complainants and check the credentials required to perform treatments such as those committed by the suspect.

    Tuesday, April 07, 2015

    "Psychiatry has destroyed my life"

    A 4 part series in the Canada Free Press about the devastating effect of the Marketing of Abilify

    Part 1: “Psychiatry has destroyed my life”
    Part 2: A medicinal lobotomy
    Part 3: “Works like a thermostat”
    Part 4: “Chemically lobotomized”

    Snippet from the series

    “Psychiatry has destroyed my life in so many ways.”

    So says Jarrett, a young man from Orange County, who for the past three and half years has been taking a cocktail of various psychiatric medications, including America’s best-selling drug, Abilify.

    Less than four years ago Jarrett was a newly minted university graduate with a bright future ahead of him. But he hit a bit of a rough patch. Discouraged by his failure to find a job, he went into counseling, which dredged up some painful memories he now believes would have been better left alone. He confronted his father one night with some old hurts, in his own recollection tearful and angry and out of control, and his father called the police. Jarrett was taken away in handcuffs to a mental hospital, where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed Risperdal and BuSpar.

    Jarrett was subsequently released but found his depression worsening. He checked himself back into the mental hospital, and this time he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and placed on BuSpar, Seroquel, Geodon, and Celexa. Shortly after his release, he attempted suicide (he says he had never experienced suicidal ideation or behavior before starting psych meds) and was hospitalized for the third time. This time his doctor doubled the dose of Seroquel, replaced the Celexa with Lexapro, and added Depakote and Cogentin. He also discontinued the Geodon and, at Jarrett’s request, prescribed a new drug Jarrett had learned about from watching television.

    “It was that cartoon commercial with the woman who says her antidepressant isn’t working,” Jarrett recalls. “She went to her doctor and her doctor said there’s a medication you can take with your antidepressant that can really help.”

    And that was how Jarrett became one of untold thousands who succumbed to the siren call of the advertising copywriter to “Add Abilify.”

    Monday, April 06, 2015

    Patients who take antipsychotic and antidepressant medications frequently experience sexual side effects

    From a report in the Pharmacy Times


    Recently, researchers set out to determine the incidence of treatment-emergent sexual dysfunction with lithium and identify potential management approaches. By conducting a systematic computerized literature search of preclinical and clinical studies, they examined 13 relevant papers and published their results in Human Psychopharmacology and Clinical Experience.

    The preclinical studies shed light on the etiology of lithium-related sexual dysfunction, noting that the drug could significantly reduce testosterone levels and impair nitric oxide-mediated control of male erectile tissue. Additionally, 6 clinical reports suggested that lithium might reduce sexual thoughts and desire, worsen erectile function, and reduce sexual satisfaction.

    Lithium-treated patients who reported sexual dysfunction also demonstrated a lower level of overall functioning, higher rates of lithium-related adverse effects, and poor medication adherence.

    Those who received concurrent benzodiazepines had a significantly elevated risk for sexual dysfunction.

    Only 1 study addressed how to manage lithium-related sexual dysfunction. In that placebo-controlled study, men who took lithium and 240 mg aspirin daily reported less overall sexual dysfunction and improved erectile function.


    Thursday, April 02, 2015

    Chicago's West Side Hartgrove Psychiatric Hospital focus of widening Justice Department probe

    Highlight/Lowlights from this Chicago Tribune article

    The Justice Department's criminal probe into Universal Health Services has entered a new and more serious phase, focusing on potential wrongdoing by the corporation as a whole and not just its individual facilities.

    Universal, the nation's largest behavioral health firm, had previously disclosed a federal investigation into 18 of its 190 psychiatric centers across the country.

    But in late March, the department's Criminal Frauds Section notified the company that "Universal as a corporate entity" is now under scrutiny, according to a regulatory disclosure filed by Universal on Tuesday.

    As federal agents examine allegations of fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing by the corporate office, they have highlighted one facility in particular, the company disclosure said: Hartgrove Hospital on Chicago's West Side.


    The Justice Department began investigating Universal facilities in Illinois in 2008 after the Tribune documented allegations that juvenile state wards and other youths were sexually assaulted at the firm's west suburban Riveredge psychiatric hospital.

    The state Department of Children and Family Services in response commissioned the University of Illinois at Chicago's psychiatry department to examine conditions at Riveredge, Hartgrove and other psychiatric facilities that serve Illinois wards.

    In a 2010 report, the UIC experts described an environment of chaos, physical attacks and sexual assaults of young patients at Hartgrove, saying the West Side facility was regularly understaffed and over capacity.

    Also part of the expanding federal probe is Universal's Rock River Academy, a 59-bed Rockford resident treatment center that promises intensive, round-the-clock care to female state wards who suffered abuse and neglect, as well as disadvantaged girls with mental health problems.

    Wednesday, April 01, 2015

    Universal Health Services says it's under criminal investigation

    From a Report in the Philadelphia Inquirer

    Individual hospitals in the behavioral health unit of Universal Health Services Inc. have long been dogged by federal investigations into their billing practices, but the King of Prussia company disclosed Tuesday in a regulatory filing that it was under criminal investigation at the corporate level.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission filing updated legal matters noted in UHS's Feb. 26 annual report.

    "UHS and its subsidiary facilities have cooperated with the investigating agencies and will continue to do so," the company said in a statement. "Due to the pendency of this matter, we are unable to make any comments about specific matters."

    In the SEC filing, the company said it was not clear if the investigations would result in financial penalties.

    UHS shares closed down $2.26, or 1.9 percent, to $117.71 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

    In the Philadelphia region, UHS owns Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital in Fort Washington; Fairmount Behavioral Health System and Friends Hospital, both in Philadelphia; the Horsham Clinic in Ambler; KeyStone Center in Chester; and Hampton Behavioral Health Center in Westhampton, according to its annual report.

    Friends Hospital, on Roosevelt Boulevard, is the only local facility listed as under investigation in UHS's annual report. The 219-bed facility, which UHS acquired in 2010 when it bought Psychiatric Solutions Inc. for $2 billion, received U.S. Department of Justice subpoenas in 2010 and 2011, covering periods before UHS ownership.

    In addition to disclosing that the investigations of Hartgrove Hospital, in Chicago, and others now includes UHS, the company's SEC filing said that in March two additional hospitals that treat people for addiction, depression, and other mental illnesses had received subpoenas,

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General issued the latest subpoenas for certain documents covering the period since 2008 to Central Florida Behavioral Hospital and University Behavioral Center, both in Orlando.