Monthly Archives: October 2013

Psychiatric nurse loses license for sex with patient

A nurse at a mental health unit in Hertfordshire has been struck off after he was found to have had sex with a patient.The case of Steven Redford, who worked at the Albany Lodge acute inpatient unit in St Albans, was heard by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The hearing found that he had a sexual relationship with a female patient between January and March 2011.

The NMC found Mr Redford’s actions amounted to misconduct.

The NMC panel heard evidence from the woman known as Patient A, a patient with mental health problems at Albany Lodge.

‘Not a liar’She described how Mr Redford had begun a relationship with her while he was a nurse at the unit.

The report of the panel said: “Patient A stated that she only had ‘full sex’ with Mr Redford on one occasion. Although she said that they did ‘everything else’ and although she wanted to go out on a date he just wanted to have sex.”

A doctor told the hearing he was certain the patient was “not a liar” and the panel accepted Patient A was a reliable witness.

The report said Mr Redford chose not to attend the hearing and did not cross-examine witnesses.

The panel concluded that: “Mr Redford’s actions were significant departures from the standards expected of a registered nurse, and are fundamentally incompatible with him remaining on the register.

“The panel of of the view that the findings in this particular case demonstrate that his actions were serious and had a significant detrimental effect on those in his care.”

Source: “Nurse struck off over sex with patient at St Albans mental health unit,” BBCNews, October 22, 2013.

Advertisements

VA psychiatrist suspended for sexually inappropriate conduct

State officials on Monday suspended the medical license of a Springfield psychiatrist suspected of flirting with and inappropriately touching six female patients between 2009 and 2013.

The state isn’t alleging that Dr. Kripakaran Puvalai had sex with patients, but according to a complaint filed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Puvalai “engaged in a pattern of sexually inappropriate conduct and multiple physician-patient boundary violations with numerous patients of his psychiatric practice.”

The complaint said the conduct occurred while Puvalai worked at two locations — when he was a consulting psychiatrist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Springfield clinic and while he practiced at Psychiatric Associates, 1124 S. Sixth St.

State officials opened an investigation into Puvalai’s conduct in 2010 but said in the complaint that they took action to temporarily remove Puvalai from practice because of an “immediate danger to the safety of the public.”

The move was prompted by the state recently learning that “multiple health-care providers” had concerns about Puvalai’s “failure to maintain proper boundaries between patients and psychiatrist,” according to an affidavit filed by Dr. Brian Zachariah, the state agency’s chief medical coordinator.

Puvalai’s attorney, Lillian Walanka, said she doesn’t know whether Puvalai will fight the suspension at a hearing scheduled for Nov. 7-8 in Springfield.

“Dr. Puvalai has a right to contest those allegations,” Walanka said. “We’re still reviewing the allegations. We’re at the very beginning of determining how we’re going to proceed.”

According to the complaint, Puvalai, 57, told one patient she had a “nice figure” and should visit his house when his wife was out of town.

Puvalai allegedly watched pornography on his office computer with another patient, put his hand up her shorts and tried to kiss her on the mouth.

He asked another patient to go out for drinks and accompany him on a trip to Las Vegas, according to the complaint.

He encouraged another patient to have “one night stands,” the complaint said.

When Puvalai was going through a residency training program in psychiatry at Springfield’s Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, his “lack of professional conduct related to maintaining appropriate boundaries between himself and patients” prevented him from completing the residency on time in 2001, the complaint said.

A 2001 letter that SIU gave Puvalai stated he would have to demonstrate acceptable performance in a remedial program to complete his residency.

According to the complaint, the remediation included requirements that all of Puvalai’s psychotherapy sessions with patients be videotaped, all of Puvalai’s patient-care activities be monitored by an SIU faculty member, and that Puvalai engage in psychotherapy with a therapist outside SIU’s Department of Psychiatry.

Puvalai, who earned his medical degree in India and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, completed his psychiatry residency at SIU in 2002, according to the IDFPR website.

It’s unclear whether VA officials knew about Puvalai’s alleged conduct. A call to the VA’s Illiana Health Care System, which operates the Springfield location at 5850 S. Sixth St., wasn’t returned Monday.

Puvalai worked for the VA between March 2008 and September 2010, the state’s complaint said. A copy of a VA letter to Puvalai said his services “are no longer required” at the Springfield location and added, “We appreciate all you have done for our facility.”

The state hadn’t taken any previous disciplinary action against Puvalai.

Sue Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, said any other patients of Puvalai’s who have had problems with him can file a complaint by contacting the department at (312) 814-6910 or going online at http://tinyurl.com/MDcomplaints.

Puvalai worked at Psychiatric Associates, a group practice of psychiatrists and psychologists, for about five years and left in mid-September, according to Katie Crouse, a receptionist at the practice.

Puvalai told The State Journal-Register in 2002, in a story about the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on foreign medical graduates, that he and his wife, another SIU-trained psychiatrist, trained in India as a family-medicine specialists and practiced there before moving to New Zealand and then the United States.

Source: Dean Olsen, “Local psychiatrist suspended for ‘sexually inappropriate conduct’,” The State Journal-Register, October 28, 2013.

Psychiatrist Levi Chen-Wah Leong convicted for sex with patient

A man in his role as a psychiatrist has been found guilty of engaging in sexual intercourse with a 25-year-old female patient who had been in his care in November 2011 in Chisago County.

Levi Chen-Wah Leong, 37, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., formerly of St. Croix Falls, Wis., was found guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree Oct. 11 in Chisago County District Court. A jury determined the verdict on Leong, a psychiatrist who was licensed in Wisconsin at the time of the incident, after hearing testimony from 13 witnesses during a four-day trial, Chisago County Attorney Janet Reiter said.

According to the complaint:

On Aug. 8, 2012, the Lakes Area Police Department received a report from Chisago County Health and Human Services that a female vulnerable adult, 25, had been seeing Leong, who was then employed as a psychiatrist at St. Croix Regional Medical Center, at the medical center in St. Croix Falls, Wis.

An investigation revealed Leong had been treating the woman as a patient since the fall of 2011 and during visits, Leong started “hitting on” her, which resulted in kissing in his office and later a relationship between the two.

In an interview with law enforcement, a family member of the victim said Leong began to show up at the church the woman was attending in the fall of 2011. “She felt she was being stalked,” said the family member, believing their relationship was not appropriate.

Also stated was an instance last fall when the woman was driven to Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, where she was treated for “extreme intoxication” while Leong had been with her. Another occasion involving her being intoxicated in the presence of Leong occurred at the victim’s apartment, the family member noted.

In a separate interview, a friend of the victim recalled the woman saying, “I can’t figure that doctor out,” affirming the two did carry on a relationship, with Leong often calling or emailing her. At one point, she tried to end the relationship, and if she didn’t respond to his frequent calls or emails, he would drive to her apartment to make contact, the friend explained.

Law enforcement then interviewed the victim who recalled the events mentioned by the friend and family member, along with more details about the relationship with Leong. While he had been living in St. Croix Falls at the time, a complaint warrant was requested because his whereabouts and likelihood of responding to a court summons were unknown. In December 2012, a detective learned Leong had since moved out of the residence and was provided a forwarding address in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Following his guilty verdict, Leong was taken into custody and will be held without bail until he is sentenced. His sentencing hearing will be held on a date to be determined. According to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, the presumptive sentence for this offense ranges from 41-57 months in prison, Reiter explained.

Assistant County Attorney Nicholas Hydukovich prosecuted the case.

Source: Jon Tatting, “Psychiatrist found guilty of having sex with patient,” The Post Review, October 16, 2013.

Psychologist Sunil Kakar busted again; let hooker run off with computer containing data on 650+ patients

A Washington state psychologist has been suspended from practice for allowing a prostitute to take off with his laptop containing sensitive information on his 652 clients.

Dr Sunil Kakar, 46, of Gig Harbor, initially told police that his portable computer was stolen from his unlocked car February 4, but he later admitted that a call girl swiped it while he went to take cash out of an ATM.

The psychologist allegedly failed to report the theft for four days in violation of his contract with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and downpayed the number of patients who could be affected.

Police investigators were eventually able to locate the stolen device, The Seattle Times reported.

In March, Kakar sent a letter to his clients apologizing for his conduct.

‘I am extremely sorry for this situation and understand it may cause concern, embarrassment and inconvenience,’ he wrote. ‘I try very hard to earn your trust, and that includes protecting sensitive information about you. I take client confidentiality very seriously.’

The DSHS said in a press release Monday that Kakar cannot resume his practice until the charges against him are resolved.
Collateral: The mental health specialist (center) allegedly left his laptop with the call girl while he went to an ATM to withdraw cash, and when he returned to his car the woman was gone along with his device

Collateral: The mental health specialist (center) allegedly left his laptop with the call girl while he went to an ATM to withdraw cash, and when he returned to his car the woman was gone along with his device

The doctor will have an opportunity to present his side of the story during a hearing later this month. He could face a longer license suspension or revocation, as well as a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation.

The allegations against Kakar stem from an incident that took place February 4 when the 46-year-old newly single doctor left his personal laptop with a hooker as collateral while he went to withdraw money from an ATM.

By the time Kakar returned to his car, both the woman and his laptop were gone.

According to the Department of Health, Kakar did not contact the agency about his missing laptop holding his patients’ unprotected health information until February 7.

The 46-year-old psychologist waited another week before filing a report with police, who were able to track down the stolen laptop to a pawn shop that same day.

This is not the first time that Mr Kakar has come under scrutiny over allegations of unprofessional conduct.

According to the DSHS, Kakar was involved in a bizarre incident in April 2011 while working as a mental health provider for the Department of Corrections, The News Tribune reported.

The doctor allegedly refused to leave an area where an inmate was set to be strip-searched and then stole food from a prisoner. He also allegedly threatened to beat up the boyfriend of another inmate.

Later than month, Kakar was admitted into a mental health clinic and was issued a recommendation for a chemical dependency evaluation.

In July of that year, the psychologist was arrested for DUI and marijuana possession, but pleaded guilty to a downgraded charge of negligent driving.

Kakar, a graduate of Loma Linda University in California, was licensed as a psychologist in 2004, specializing in depression, anxiety and traumatic life events like death and divorce.

According to his Facebook page, Kakar split from his wife last year after 12 years of marriage, and the couple have a teenage daughter.

Source: Snejana Farberov, “Troubled psychologist suspended after prostitute ran off with his laptop containing health information on 652 patients,” UK Daily Mail, October 16, 2013.

State revokes counselor William Elwell’s license over sexual violations and child pornography

On July 11, 2012, the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy revoked counselor William Elwell’s license.

The Board’s document contains information about Elwell’s sexual contact with a teenage girl while he was a teacher, including excerpts of Internet chat sessions of a sexually explicit nature which Elwell carried on while he was working at Dakota Prairie Area Learning Center.

He was ultimately terminated from the position and surrendered his teaching license and was shortly after charged with solicitation of a child to engage in sexual conduct and possession of child pornography. Both charges were dismissed.

On his counseling license application, Elwell denied criminal charges and loss of license. Further, the Board’s document provides details about a 23-year-old female client with whom Elwell engaged in sexual intercourse with on several occasions, as well as another client upon whom he attempted or engaged in sexual contact. He was terminated from his position in both cases.

Psychiatrist David F. Wilson charged with sexual exploitation of a minor

On September 9, 2013, Utah psychiatrist David Ford Wilson was arrested and charged with 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

It was reported that Wilson, who until April 30th worked as a child psychiatrist at Intermountain Healthcare, was viewing child pornography at work, which was detected by the organization’s IT department, leading to his arrest.

The state suspended both is medical license and his controlled substance registration on an emergency basis on August 27th.

Psychiatrist Thomas Radecki charged with overprescribing and trading treatment for sex

On or about August 20, 2013, Pennsylvania psychiatrist Thomas Radecki was charged with 13 counts of prescribing outside accepted treatment principles, four counts of provider-prohibited acts, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of dealing in unlawful proceeds and one count of theft by deception and one count of insurance fraud. Radecki is accused of overprescribing medications and trading treatment for sex.

According to news reports, in the first five months of 2012 (before his four addiction treatment clinics were closed) Radecki was the state’s largest purchaser the Subutex (a drug used for treatment of opiate addiction) in the United States.