Adam Lanza’s Psychiatrist’s Ethics Violations Raise Questions About the Legislature’s Controversial Mental Health Increases

Sheila Matthews
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One has to wonder.  If the State legislature had been aware of the details of the investigation into Adam Lanza’s psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Fox, prior to passing sweeping, costly mental health legislation, PA 13-3, would the vote have gone the same direction?

Let’s consider for a moment the facts of Dr. Fox’s surrender of his license to practice medicine in not only Connecticut but, also, New York.  Ablechild recently requested and received the publicly available investigative file on the circumstances surrounding Adam Lanza’s psychiatrist’s fall from psychiatric grace and, perhaps, his decision to flee the country.

The State Department of Public Health received a complaint about Dr. Fox from Yale New Haven Hospital in March of 2012.  A female patient of Dr. Fox had reported detailed information about a “consensual” sexual relationship with Dr. Fox and, by April of 2012, the State Department of Public Health had begun its investigation.

The investigative documents are, in a word, sickening.  The 59-year old Fox had engaged in a sexual relationship with a 19-year old patient he supposedly was “treating” for mental illness.  Dr. Fox had become the patient’s counselor while employed at Western Connecticut State University Counseling Center and when fired from the University for “ethics” violations, continued to “treat” the patient at his Brookfield office.

In substantiating the sexual relationship, the patient provided detailed documentation, including an inordinate number of written references by Dr. Fox about his private parts, and information about other female patients that reportedly had sexual relationships with the psychiatrist – one threatening to bring a malpractice suit against him.  Given the psychiatrist’s apparent proclivity for being sexually active with his female patients, one can only surmise he may qualify as a serial sexual predator.

More importantly, during Dr. Fox’s “treatment” of this 19-year old patient, he not only was prescribing numerous – “three or four” – psychiatric mind-altering drugs, but also was providing the patient with free drug samples (page 69 of report).  According to the patient’s mother, “she was turning into a zombie.”

Dr. Fox billed the mother’s insurance for the patient’s drug “treatment,” but when the psychiatrist and the patient “became friends” Fox no longer billed for “counseling services.”(page 68 of report)

The “consensual sexual relationship” between a 59-year old doctor and 19-year old patient lasted about two years, with the good doctor ending with a note saying “please don’t contact me.”  Absolutely pathetic!

But why is this investigation of Dr. Fox important and what does it have to do with Adam Lanza and the State’s rush to institute increased mental health services?

First, this investigation raises red flags about the public’s right to know when doctors/psychiatrists are fired for “ethics” violations from a State University, tasked with providing mental health services for teenagers.  Furthermore, was Western Connecticut State University aware of Dr. Fox’s sexual relationships with students at the university and, if so, did the university file a report with the Department of Public Health or any state oversight agency?

Additionally, on December 17, 2012 (three days after the Sandy Hook incident) police conducted a telephone interview with Dr. Fox, who is living in New Zealand, inquiring about his “treatment ” of Adam Lanza and the whereabouts of the doctor’s mental health records.  (Investigation document 00260339 -Book 7)

Dr. Fox, advised police that he “vaguely recalls treating Adam Lanza.”  Dr. Fox further advised that the only records he had in New Zealand were billing records and explained that “all of his medical records pertaining to clients he treated in the United States are currently in storage in the United States.”

Twenty-four hours later, Dr. Fox, contacted police, explaining “any medical records pertaining to Adam Lanza have been destroyed since it has been over five years since he last treated him (per state statute he is allowed to destroy any files over 5 years old).”  Dr. Fox further explained that “Adam was about 15 years of age when he last saw him.”

If Dr. Fox last saw Adam Lanza in 2007, his medical record retention, according to the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies Medical Records 19a-14-42“unless specified otherwise herein, all parts of a medical record shall be retained for a period of seven (7) years from the last date of treatment, or, upon the death of the patient, for three (3) years.”

Dr. Fox, upon surrendering his license, agreed to adhere to the regulations regarding medical records. So, if the doctor last saw Adam Lanza in 2007, he destroyed Lanza’s mental health records two years too early.

More than that, is it not odd that Dr. Fox would initially tell police that his medical records were in storage in the U.S., then twenty-four hours later revise his statement, declaring them destroyed?  Of course, Dr. Fox’s billing records would yield a great deal of information, especially about the drugs prescribed to Lanza, but apparently the police did not follow that lead. Why?

There’s little doubt that Dr. Fox is material to the Sandy Hook investigation. Fox is reported to have been Adam Lanza’s “primary psychiatrist” and, therefore, key to understanding not only Lanza’s mental status but also his drug history. (Investigation document 00085896-Book 8 email to Dr. Fox from Nancy Lanza)

Because the State Police Report provides no mental health information about Lanza since his “treatment” by Dr. Fox in 2007, due to his obvious questionable ethical behavior, is it possible Dr. continued to treat Lanza?  Dr. Fox could answer this question by making public the billing records.  The State Police, however, did not request the records.

The larger picture, though, is the State’s rush to implement increased mental health services (Public Act 13-3) when not only was there no investigative information to support the increase, but the psychiatrist “treating” Lanza had lost his license due to ethical violations and fled the country.

If the State legislature had known about Dr. Fox’s egregious ethical violations, his obvious violation of state medical record retention regulations and his excessive prescribing of psychiatric drugs, would the vote have gone the same way?

This, of course, is the problem with political crisis management. The State legislature acted without the necessary information to make informed decisions. Given the above information, most would logically conclude that rather than implementing costly increased mental health services, what actually was needed was a top-down review of the kind of mental health services being provided.

* * * * *

This article first appeared on Sheila Matthews’ blog,
Ablechild.

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26 COMMENTS

    • Absolutely, since it’s apparently the function of psychiatry to defame, torture, and take away the civil rights of the victims of those “in control.” I have medical evidence psychiatric practitioners actively collude to cover up sexual abuse of children.

      • Yeah, it’s fairly easy – you abuse the person and then declare that person absolutely insane so no one belives her/him and then you lock that person up and subject to drugging/shocking in order to wash their brains clean of anything that could possibly put you in trouble in future. Perfect crime.
        I wonder why psychiatrists are so often portrayed as manipulative psychopaths in popular culture…

  1. Sheila–With politeness in mind…, no shit!

    All dopes in media and government who barely visit the trenches ought to see these “services” in action. My only theory is that they are in such anguish about crime and punishment that they are ready to believe everthing and everyone attached to any official body by paper trails and titles. Of course, nothing can’t be fixed without disturbing this unique coalition, too.

  2. Amazing. This is an important piece, thank you.

    “This, of course, is the problem with political crisis management…rather than implementing costly increased mental health services, what actually was needed was a top-down review of the kind of mental health services being provided.”

    Yep, I agree. Let’s not keep feeding the piranhas. A top-down review of mental health services is, indeed, what is called for, desperately. Were it to be conducted neutrally, fairly and with integrity, I can’t imagine it would pass as even close to ‘satisfactory’ on any level.

    • On second thought, it’s had myriad evaluations from its clients. Seem as though it has failed, categorically. Given that it is now an out-of-control cancer in society, I look forward to the demise of this insanely criminal institution. When the mental health system goes away, healing will begin for one and all.

  3. So, after this has been brought to light, wouldn’t it be plausible to consider the possibility that psychiatry (in the form of his doctor) could have failed Adam? I say this not as an actual accusation, but considering that the mentally ill of this country are about to pay for crimes we did not commit, isn’t it fair to consider that instead of the repetitive argument and insinuations that the mentally ill have become increasingly violent, perhaps what should be considered is that psychiatry has become more disillusioned and nihilistic. In that case, is it really the best plan to turn the rest of the mentally ill back to the mercy of the APA?

    • I wonder if there is a correlation with the use of psych drugs and the mass shootings. Correlation does not imply causation but if I wanted to really know why this shit keeps happening, especially with the two most drugged populations: kids and veterans I’d look into it.

  4. Dr. Fox abused everyone, except for divine accidents.

    Also, Alex’s first comment almost made me jump in with more denunciations of psychiatry, but then he straightened it out. My reaction, in light of this piece is that it has depend on WHO, unfortunately, gets on and not just the mandate attending such a comprehensive review detail. If Dr. Moncrieff were invited and could be available, that’s as close to a guarantee as you’d get. Or The Last Psychiatrist, and so on.

    But neutrality getting interpreted by fans of Al Frances would not be adequate, as he is still puching the psychiatry-as-benevolent-handmaiden-to-health if done right message. Psychiatry is not ever going to get done right unless it is de-clawed.

    The American Academy should also not escape censure. The worthless academic department standards in psychiatry and psychology are beyond septic and lowdown. Maybe MIA staff sometimes bat around the idea of recognizing leadership, quote-endquote, in journalism for people who haven’t got their reputations staked on psychiatry in dissent and the survivor movement. Well, if such recognition ever takes shape in column form for such a demonstrative purpose, the thought should focus on the press contributions and less on what comes from campuses. The tendency to hedge criticisms in favor of a strict “Two wrongs don’t make a right” (poor professionals from some alma mater or other) is glaring.

  5. I have gotten the impression from very reliable sources that Adam Lanza never existed; that the school where the massacre took place was no longer used due to asbestos, etc. and had been converted to a store place for unused school furniture, etc. In other words Sandy Hook was a hoax or a trial run that was taken as real to the public. It looks like Dr. Fox may be paying for his sins by helping out. The evidence for this is really overwhelming.

  6. Color me surprised that a psychiatrist lost his license for having sex with more than one of the patients he was drugging.

    There are black box warnings of the risks of suicidal and/or homicidal behavior from many psyche drugs. It’s patently unjust and irresponsible not to require the drugs being taken by people who have been labeled and “treated” for “mental illness” be used as evidence when a person on one or more psyche drugs has been violent toward themselves and/or others. They are mood and mind altering drugs. If this were done routinely, doctors and prescribing nurses would have to think carefully. They might then be more likely to change the ways they prescribe, how they inform patients and guardians about risks and dangerous, and might even make a habit of not prescribing drugs before seeing the patient and talking a few times, at length, and—- you know—WORKING for patients while prescribing drugs more soberly and judiciously, or not at all. That it’s routine for psychiatrists to prescribe drugs at the first meeting and to downplay risks is outrageous. Many of these drugs can make patients a danger to themselves and others. Psychiatrists need to be forced to deal with the realities of the drugs they prescribe.

    I suspect that Adam Lanza was a sociopath, and his mother might have also been one. She had this totally messed up kid who appeared to have no social skills or graces at all, and she bonded with him with guns? Extremely socially incompetent and/or predatory teens should not be encouraged to bond or identify with weapons of any sort.

    • Agreed. If a person s involuntarily intoxicated they cannot be held responsible for their actions. In this case the doctors should bear the blame. I remember experiencing the side effects of these drugs and being treated like a 5yr old complaining about not liking the taste of their toothpaste or something. I was practically narcoleptic after Zyprexa (falling asleep while riding a bike) and the doctor just shrugged it off by “well, it can make you a LITTLE TIRED”. I don’t normally fall asleep in the middle of pedaling on the bike on a busy street without a warning but hey, I guess if I cause a traffic accident that would be my fault.

  7. So after all that T.V news watching and internet reading the story ends with Lanza’s psychiatrist being far far away, about as far away as one can possibly get from Newtown CT without leaving planet earth, somewhere in New Zealand .

    What an ending.

  8. What irked me the most was how everyone said it was Schizophrenia and/or Manic phase of severe bipolar (they call bipolar I, schizo mood bipolar and bipolar II, not being lazy, being arrogant and snappy kind of bipolar when they know some about it) but when his diagnosis of an autistic disorder the Autism fanatics and even NAMI was quick to be angry about it asserting that it is extremely rare although still enough to watch out for and I get angry because that is the first thing people think when it comes up again. Aside from SSRI’s add a lack of understanding of norms. a cluster B type of personality or psychosis as a mindset while we are always beefing up for the next war and place to attack in the media, we kind of have a culture of that and we do it for “peace” so culture is part of it too.

    • In today’s world mentally ill=(potentially) dangerous criminal AND dangerous criminal=mentally ill. It comes down to DSM again – it defines anything which is not acceptable “normal” behaviour as an illness. It’s sad people don’t see the obvious problems it creates on both sides (fear mongering against people in emotional distress and extreme states of mind and justification of criminal acts). There are obviously rare cases when people flip out under strong emotions or have such horrible psychosis that they end up stabbing their parent but these are rare cases and there are civilised ways of dealing with these problem. But I guess these ways don’t sell drugs just as well…

  9. The final report is out on the Adam Lanza case. See the New York Times story here:
    nyti.ms/1xKQdAy

    Quotes:
    A comprehensive examination of the medical history of Adam Lanza, who fatally shot 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., two years ago, has concluded that he was “completely untreated in the years before the shooting” for various psychiatric and physical ailments.

    The 114-page report did not find direct fault with those in Mr. Lanza’s life for the violence he committed, but it did conclude that his mother was inclined to accommodate his disabilities rather than treat them. That was the case even during the later part of his life, when he showed signs of “severe and deteriorating internalized mental health problems,” according to the report.

    Ms. Lanza did not carry out recommendations by professionals at Yale University that her son take medication for some of his problems. She had concerns about side effects, as did her son.”

    • Yeah, I’d still like to see how the “completely untreated” looked like. Even a short contact with the so-called care can traumatise one for life so I don’t buy their bs. Plus still would like to see what is actually in this report instead of hearing people with a stake in the game make statements without any facts behind them. And I find this quote:
      “It’s not that his mental illness was a predisposing factor in this tragedy,” Dr. Harold Schwartz, chief psychiatrist at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, said at a news conference held on Friday to discuss the report, of which he was an author. “It was his untreated mental illness that was a predisposing factor.”
      absolutely outrighteous.

  10. Well, we already know what the “completely untreated” looks like. It looks dead, along with several other people. And Dr. Schwartz’s statement that his untreated mental illness being a predisposing factor isn’t entirely accurate. It was lack of treatment and easy access to weapons.

    • That was the most manipulative and untrue statement he could have possibly give. Pretending like he’s trying not to “stigmatise mentally ill”. In fact saying: they are dangerously crazy unless we get our hands on them and treat them so that they are nota a danger anymore. Which by the way defies all statistics but who cares about that – selling more forced treatment (for which there is no evidence it has ever prevented one case of violence) is more important.