Psych Crime Reporter

August 9, 2018

Patient Wins First-Ever Lawsuit for Memory Loss from Electroshock (ECT)

In July 2005, a South Carolina woman became the first survivor of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, shock treatment) to win a jury verdict and a large money judgment in compensation for extensive permanent amnesia and cognitive disability caused by the procedure.

Peggy S. Salters, 60, sued Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, as well as the three doctors responsible for her care. As the result of an intensive course of outpatient ECT in 2000, she lost all memories of the past 30 years of her life, including all memories of her husband of three decades, now deceased, and the births of her three children. Ms. Salters held a Masters of Science in nursing and had a long career as a psychiatric nurse, but lost her knowledge of nursing skills and was unable to return to work after ECT.

The jury awarded her $635,177 in compensation for her inability to work. The malpractice verdict was against the referring doctor, Eric Lewkowiez. The jury could not return a verdict against the other two doctors because of one holdout vote for acquittal. The hospital settled its liability for an undisclosed sum early in the trial.

Former patients have reported devastating, permanent amnesia and cognitive impairment since ECT was first invented in 1938, but that has not hindered the treatment’s popularity with doctors. The first lawsuit for ECT amnesia, Marilyn Rice v. John Nardini, was brought exactly thirty years ago, and dozens of suits have followed. While there have been a few settlements, including one for half a million dollars, no former patient has won a case until now.

Psychiatrist Peter Breggin, who served as Ms. Salters’ expert witness, was also the expert in Rice v. Nardini, and has appeared for plaintiffs many times over the past three decades without success. Psychologist Mary E. Shea presented extensive neuropsychological testing proving to the jury’s satisfaction that Ms. Salters suffers dementia due to ECT brain damage.

Expert for the defense was Charles Kellner of New Jersey, formerly of the Medical University of South Carolina. He testified that giving Ms. Salters’ 13 shocks in 19 days, instead of 26 days as is usual, was not a violation of the American Psychiatric Association guidelines. However, his assertions that Ms. Salters’ severe suicidality justified the controversial treatment could not be substantiated by the medical records. 82-year-old Max Fink of New York, widely regarded as the “grandfather of shock” and the author of many books and articles on ECT, was scheduled to testify for the defense, but in the end only watched the trial from the courtroom. The defense did not call him as a witness due to incriminating statements made under oath at his deposition.

For the past three decades, defense attorneys have won case after case by the same strategy: browbeating the jury with the plaintiff’s psychiatric history, playing upon the prevailing cultural notions that mental patients are incapable of telling the truth and doctors don’t lie; even claiming that mental illness causes amnesia and brain damage. Even neurological testing showing brain damage has been brushed aside. Peggy Salters’ case is the first in which a former ECT patient has been believed. She says she sees it as a victory for all ECT survivors.

Case information: Peggy S. Salters vs. Palmetto Health Alliance, Inc., d/b/a Palmetto Baptist Medical Center; Robt. Schnackenberg, M.D., Individually, Eric Lewkowiez, M.D., Individually, Columbia Psychiatric Associates, P.A.; and Kenneth Huggins, M.D., Individually; Case 03CP4004797, Richland County, South Carolina

Source: “Landmark Decision: Jury Awards $635,177 Damages for Memory Loss from Electroshock,” press release of Committee for Truth in Psychiatry, July 8, 2005.

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July 23, 2018

Psychologist Crystal M. Knight Loses License for Two Years for Sex with Married Patient

On June 5th, 2018, the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists issued an Order suspending the license of psychologist Crystal M. Knight, M.A. for two years, with terms and conditions which she must meet.

According to the “Findings of Fact,” as contained in the Order, the Board opened an investigation of Knight based on a complaint filed by “M,” a former patitent, concerning behavior on the part of Knight which “may have crossed professional boundaries between psychologist and client.” The alleged behavior occurred during the time that Knight was providing court-ordered family therapy counseling to M and her husband, “D.”

Crystal Knight

Crystal M. Knight, M.A.

Knight admitted to Board investigators that she became friends with M and D, assisted M in obtaining a rental space for a business she was starting, and later visited M and D at the business and had lunch with them.

She discussed her pending divorce with M and D.

She began a sexual relationship with D within two years of the termination of the therapist-patient relationship.

Should she request reinstatement of her license at the end of the two years, the Board will place her license on probation, under which she will be required, at her own expense, to practice under the supervision of a Board-selected licensed psychologist.

Source: West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists vs. Crystal Knight, M.A. (Lic. #1042), Ethical Inquiry No. 2017-11, Consent Agreement and Order, June 5, 2018.

July 12, 2018

Are You a Former Patient of Capstone Academy – Detroit Behavioral Institute?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:30 pm

Are you a former Capstone patient or the parent/guardian of a former patient?

Did you receive less-than-acceptable or less-than-humane treatment?

Were you harmed or injured while you were a patient at Capstone?

Did Capstone neglect your health or any injuries?

Did a loved one die while hospitlized at Capstone?

If you would like to discuss your experience and file a report, please contact Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).

CCHR will keep your information completely confidential and may be able to assist you take action.

Please contact Steve Wagner at swagner@cchr.org

Are You a Former Employee of Capstone Academy – Detroit Behavioral Institute?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:29 pm

Did you leave employment there because of policies or practices that were in conflict with your professional and/or moral integrity?

Do you want to see the right thing done for the sake of the patients?

If so, please contact the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). They will listen to your concerns and keep them completely confidential. CCHR may be able to help you with regard to Capstone.

Please contact Steve Wagner at swagner@cchr.org

May 14, 2018

6 Patient Overdose Deaths: Psychiatrist Edwin B. Hall Surrenders License

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 6:04 pm

On April 2, 2018, the New Mexico Medical Board issued an Agreed Order for Voluntary Surrender of License While Under Investigation, on psychiatrist Edwin B. Hall.

The Board had suspended Hall’s license on an emergency basis in October 2017, citing “evidence indicating that you pose a clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety if you continue to practice medicine.” This Summary Suspension order specified that Hall “allowed an unlicensed individual to treat patients in your practice and then billed ther services…under your Medicaid ID.” It further stated that the unlicensed individual “also had adverse licensure action taken against him by the Georgia Medical Board for prescribing issues.”

The current Order for Voluntary Surrender adds additional information, including:

  • Hall prescribed controlled substances and combinations of medications in a manner that posed a threat to the health of his clients–six of whom died as the result of overdose.
  • The New Mexico Board of Pharmacy identidied Hall as as “high-risk prescriber.
  • Hall signed patient applications for medical marijuana after his license was summarily suspended.
  • The aforementioned unlicensed individual had actually had his license revoked for engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with a female patient.

Hall may not seek reinstatment and may not otherwise practice medicine in the state of New Mexico.

Source: Agreed Order for the Voluntary Surrender of License While Under Investigation, in the Matter of Edwin B. Hall, License No. 75-161, Before the New Mexico Medical Board.

April 26, 2018

Dr. Mani Pavuluri of University of Illinois

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:48 pm

PavuluriIt’s recently been revealed that psychiatrist Mani Pavuluri, the Founding Director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Illinois, Chicago, was suspended in 2013 from conducting any further clinical studies at the University.

Pavuluri’s continous and serious violations of safety requirements for human study subjects put this children in her studies in increased danger. For instance, she enrolled children under age 13 in a pediatric lithium study though she knew that the drug was not FDA-approved for younger children. She failed to warn the childrens’ parents about the real risks of her study. And she falsified study records to cover her misdeeds.

The National Institute of Mental Heath, which funded Pavuluri’s study, to the tune of more than $3 million found that her non-compliance with requirements ultimately rendered the study results worthless.

If you were a subject in this study and would like to make a report, please contact Citizens Commission on Human Rights.

April 6, 2018

State Yanks Psychologist James Medina’s License for Sexual Misconduct

Filed under: psychologist,sexual misconduct,Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:00 pm
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On September 14, 2017, the California Board of Psychology revoked James Medina’s license.

The Board’s Order of Decision states that Medina treated a female patient from July 2008 until summer 2014. The patient was 27 years old at the start and had disclosed to the Medina that she was an adult survivor of child sexual abuse.

The Board concluded that Medina had engaged in gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, unprofessional conduct, and sexual misconduct in his treatment of the patient. Further, he kept inadequate and inaccurate records for the patient, among other violations.

The document describes Medina’s sexualized behavior toward the patient, including personal emails, texts, and social media comments relative to her appearance, sex-related advice, expressions of sexual desire, and unwanted physical contact, such as hugs and rubbing of the back, waist and sides of breasts, and angry expletive-laced texts.  Medina also engaged in social activities with the patient and her friend, gave the patient money on a few occasions, purchased the patient’s television, among numerous other treatment and record-keeping violations.

Source: Order of Decision In the Matter of the First Amended Accusation Against James Medina, Ph.D., California Board of Psychology, October 9, 2017.

Psychologist Sookyung Chang Loses License for Financially Exploiting Patient

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 2:59 pm

On October 30, 2017, the California Board of Psychology revoked Los Angeles psychologist Sookyung Chang’s license.

The Board’s Accusation states that in 2006, a husband and wife who were seeking to separate sought services from Chang to help them divide their assets. In the process, the couple shared with Chang information about their properties and investments.

After the conclusion of the psychologist-patient relationship, Change remained in contact with the husband. In 2007, she borrowed $300,000 from the man to purchase a property and except for a payment of $25,000, never repaid him.

In 2011, when the man was in danger of losing his home, Chang offered to purchase the property from him. They agreed that Chang could live on the property as a tenant. Chang and a co-investory purchase the home.

In 2014, Change stopped paying rent. In November of that year, the man successfully filed an action to have Chang evicted for non-payment of rent. She was evicted and, while out of the country, had movers come to move her furniture and belongings off the property. However, she did not pay them enough to move everything so they left behind numerous boxes of patient records, unsecured. She made no efforts to retrive the files after she’d vacated the premises. Additionally, as described in the Board’s later order, she removed fixtures from the property, including french doors and stained-glass windows. The man discovered that there were partially-buried dogs in the back yard and that the pool water was black because it was full of dog feces.

The Board found that Chang engaged in a financial relationship with the man and that she used financialy information she’d obtained during the husband-wife counseling to exploit him financially.

In addition to the revocation of her license, the Administrative Law Judge that heard the case awarded the Board $22,235 in investigative and prosecutions costs, to be paid by Chang.

Source: Decision and Order In the Matter of the Accusation Against Sookyung Chang, Ph.D., California Board of Psychology, November 20, 2017 and Accusation In the Matter of the Accusation Against Sookyung Chang, Ph.D., California Board of Psychology, December 13, 2016.

April 3, 2018

To Residents of Southeast Kentucky

Re: Cumberland River Comprehensive Care/Cumberland River Behavioral Health

Do you or did you go to public school in Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Rockcastle or Whitley county?

As a student, did you receive counseling or other services from a mental health counselor at your school and/or outside of school?

Were you pressured to be involved in these services?

Did you disagree with having to participate in these services?

Did you disagree with your diagnosis?

Do you feel that your education, health, reputation, or quality of life has been affected by having had to receive these mental health services?

If so, and you’d like to discuss what happened and what you might be able to do about it, we recommend that you contact Steve Wagner at the Citizens Commission on Human Rights at swagner@cchr.org

 

 

March 8, 2018

Did You Work at Covington Behavioral Health in Covington, LA?

Filed under: Acadia Healthcare — Psych Crime Reporter @ 12:35 pm
Tags: , ,

Are you a current or former employee of Acadia Healthcare’s Covington Behavioral Health Hospital in Covington, Louisiana?

During your time there, did you witness any of the following:

  • Patient abuse
  • Use of chemical restraint
  • Billing irregularies
  • Fraud
  • Use of non-medical personnel to make admissions or medical or diagnostic decisions?
  • Any other questionable or illegal events or conduct

You can make a confidential report about it to Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). If you want to take action, CCHR may be able to assist you.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a mental health watchdog established by the Church of Scientology in 1969 to investigate and expose psychiatric abuses of human rights and crime and fraud in the field of mental health.

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