Roger Levine, M.D. (Part I)

Adult Protective Services has been called because I can’t get out of bed.  I fear them and don’t know what they will do to me.

The most important thing—the thing you must hear, must help me with—is filing a complaint against Roger Levine, M.D., with the NYS Dept. of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct. 

This horror all began when my primary care physician, Dr. Tucker, asked me if I wanted to go to inpatient psychiatry voluntarily or under commitment.  I said voluntary.  Next thing I knew, I was being committed on a 2pc—two physician commitment.  When I asked Tucker why, he said that’s the way psychiatry wanted it.  I assume he meant Roger Levine, who is director of inpatient psychiatry at St. Joe’s.

I have known Levine forty years.  More than a decade ago, I was in CPEP (Community Psychiatric Emergency Program) when Levine was head of it.  It was the weekend and my psychiatrist, Dr. Nasri Ghaly, was away.  The plan was that I would stay in CPEP until Monday morning when Dr. Ghaly would be back, then I would be transferred to him on Unit 3-6.  Then, on Sunday, Levine walked in and said I was being sent to Hutchings (state psychiatric center).  I was shocked, appalled and frightened.  But-but-but, I said—Dr. Ghaly, 3-6—.  No, Levine said.  Hutchings.

I told him that my psychologist, Dr. Paul Cohen, by phone had been following my progress through CPEP.  As soon as Levine heard that a competent adult male was paying attention, he backed down, walked away, and nothing more was said about Hutchings.

On Monday morning, when I was to go voluntarily to Dr. Ghaly and 3-6, Levine committed me.  It was a malicious show of power, nothing more.

I have gotten CPEP and 3-6 investigated by the NYS Office of Mental Health two or three times.  Levine has been the director of both.  Some complaints have been filed under my own name.  The last complaint was done as a “concerned citizen.”  Dr. Ghaly, who works in CPEP, had told me of the overcrowding.  CPEP was an 8-bed unit; he said they had 30 patients.  Patients were sleeping on mattresses on the floor.  St. Joseph’s wouldn’t dream of doing that to their cardiac patients; psychiatric patients, no matter.

I am very good at what I do, which is getting providers of substandard service investigated.  It is always about the abuse of power by people in charge.  Roger Levine is a total abuser of power.  He provides neglect and abuse.

So, back whenever, I told Dr. Ghaly not to worry about the situation in CPEP (he is a doctor who cares for his patients, not a politician who fights the system).  I told him I would take care of it.  I made one phone call to OMH (Office of Mental Health) and got transferred three times before I ended up with the Woman Who Could Do Something.  It’s all about knowing what to say so that you get the proper transfers.  The Woman told me, among other things, that they had previously investigated CPEP and found such deplorable conditions that they were bringing rescue workers in by helicopter.  Clearly, OMH had not followed up.  They fixed the problem, left Levine in charge, and it went down the drain again.

So it took me one phone call with three transfers and in couple hours OMH had their people back investigating CPEP.  Levine didn’t know that one was on me, but he did know that I testified against him in a public hearing.  He sat in back with a muscle in his cheek twitching uncontrollably as I read a statement about a 9-year-old boy who was locked up in CPEP with a convicted murderer, and taken into the bed of a deranged housewife while all the staff stayed in the nursing station and wouldn’t come out on the floor.

If you go back and check early postings on this blog, you will find postings about St. Joseph’s 3-6, Levine, and the testimony about the child.

Roger Levine, M.D., believe me, has it in for me.  That’s why, when Dr. Tucker called to get me a voluntary admission to Unit 3-6, he was told to commit me.  And commit me he did.  Roger Levine now had complete control over me.

That was Wednesday, April 17, and I was transferred from the Observation Unit to Unit 3-6.  The admitting nurse told me Levine was my attending.  When I objected, she called and got me transferred to another psychiatrist (Dr. O’Connell?  O’Connor?).

The next morning, I found out I was again back with Levine.  He wouldn’t let me go.

On Thursday morning I had a hypoglycemic crisis followed by two bowel movements, followed by Levine (shit sticks together).  I told him I urgently needed to get to the bathroom again to poop.  He said, “So call a nurse,” looking around for the call bell.  It was on the other side of the room, way out of reach.  Levine did nothing to meet my need for the bathroom.  He stood over me and demanded that I answer his questions.  He said, “This is psychiatry; you’re on psychiatry now.  Are you suicidal?  Are you suicidal?  Answer the question!”

Then he left, after telling me that I’m a terrible person and that’s why no one will work with me.  A 3-6 staffer would later ask “And this was therapeutic how?”

Maureen Kissane (?) the Mental Hygiene Legal Services attorney came next.  I had two more bowel movements and vomited on the floor.  By then they had given me a tap bell beside my bed.  Ms Kissane sat by my bed while I repeatedly tapped the bell and no one answered it.  (To be continued)


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
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s