Jane Kou, M.D.


Complaint to the Office of Professional Medical Conduct, NYS Dept. of Health:

I was hospitalized at Hutchings Psychiatric Center for suicidal depression for about three weeks; the attending psychiatrist was Jane Kou. 

            I only recall seeing Dr. Kou four times for a total of less than an hour during those three weeks, and one of the times was the discharge meeting.

            The first time, she came and sat with me at a small table in a public area.  I was frustrated and angry because I had waited days for this first conversation with a doctor.  After five or ten minutes of conversation, I became so angry about my mistreatment and Dr. Kou’s failure to provide care that I lifted the edge of the table about three inches and dropped it back to the floor.  Dr. Kou terminated the interview, saying I was becoming violent.

            The second time, Dr. Kou, the chief of service, and one or two other people came to my room.  The chief of service and I talked for about fifteen minutes.  Dr. Kou made a few comments to him but did not speak to me.

            The third time, Dr. Kou and a social worker came and sat at my table in the dining room during lunch, told me I was to go to Continuing Day Treatment at St. Joseph’s, then left.

            The fourth time, I was summoned to Dr. Kou’s office where I met with her and a social worker.  I had been admitted suicidally depressed and was in that condition when I was called to her office.  Dr. Kou told me I was being discharged.  I had a thirty-year history of depression with six suicide attempts.  Dr. Kou had refused to continue the antidepressants I had been taking when I was admitted. 

I begged Dr. Kou not to discharge me without having at least a therapist; she refused.  Dr. Kou then discharged me, suicidal and without medication, therapist or psychiatrist.

            I walked out the door in a state of incomparable suicidal distress.  I knew that if I went home, I would kill myself, so I got in my car and drove blindly, irrationally, and quite dangerously for several hours.  I ended up in a snowstorm in the dark on the side of a mountain about a hundred miles away.  I returned to Syracuse and went directly to the Emergency Room of another hospital, where they committed me back to Hutchings.

            I had received neither psychotherapy nor pharmacotherapy from Dr. Kou during the three weeks I was hospitalized under her care.

To file a complaint against a physician, or to search for actions already taken against a physician, go to the NYS Dept. of Health, Office of Professional Conduct, website at http://www.health.state.ny.us/professionals/doctors/conduct/file_a_complaint.htm

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About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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