Complaint against Roger Levine, M.D.

I am seeking an attorney to sue Dr. Roger Levine and St. Joseph’s Hospital.  Please forward this blog to anyone you might know.  Anne C Woodlen



Office of Professional Medical Conduct

Central Intake Unit                    

Riverview Center

150 Broadway, Suite 355

Albany, New York 12204-2719


Woodlen, Anne C

Syracuse, NY 13210


Levine, Roger

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Syracuse NY


Patient’s Name:  Anne C Woodlen

Date of Birth:  12/18/46

When did this happen?  April 16/17-April 29, 2013

Where did this happen?  St. Joseph’s Hospital, Unit 3-6

Have you filed a complaint with anyone else? No

This horror all began when my primary care physician, Dr. James Tucker, in the Observation Unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital on April 17, 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 Saturday, Levine walked in and said I was being sent to Upstate Medical Center.  I was shocked, appalled and frightened.  But-but-but, I said—Dr. Ghaly, 3-6—.  No, Levine said.  Upstate.

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 Upstate.

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 St. Joseph’s Hospital Unit 3-6 (inpatient psychiatry) 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 my blog, “Behind the Locked Doors of Inpatient Psychiatry,” you will find postings about Levine ( (  , and the testimony about the child (attached at the end of this complaint).

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, as director of inpatient psychiatry, now had complete control over me.

That was Wednesday, April 17, and I was transferred from the Observation Unit to Unit 3-6.  I was admitted to a standard wooden-box-and-foam-pad psychiatric bed, despite my multiple medical issues and the fact that I’d been in an electric hospital bed at home for fifteen years.  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.  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?”  (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 American medical industry, disability rights, Inpatient psychiatry, Onondaga County, physician, Values and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Complaint against Roger Levine, M.D.

  1. Lori caputo says:

    I just wanted to say that I have come to the reAlization that St Joes is the worst psychiatric hospital in the world. When my husband spent Dec 2012 and Jan 2013 on 3-6 it was a constant battle to get proper care for him. During his time there they abused him, ignored him and did very little to aid him. So when on May 8, 2013 my husband returned to CPEP I was seriously concerned that he would once again be neglected on 3-6. Instead after three days in CPEP my husband was moved to University Hospital, and I have to admit I panicked not knowing what to expect.

    What has happened since he arrived at university 4B is wonderful. He has a team of seven caring health care professionals who actually listen and give him proper care. Amazing he was lucky if Dr O’Connor spent two min every couple of days with him at St Joes. At 4B he sees his Dr’s daily they take as much time as you need and really listen to you in order to give you the best care possible. The groups are all run by Dr’s including the head of Psychiatry not some Lpn or CNA like 3-6. He looks better feels better and is treated with dignity and respect on 4B instead of like an animal on 3-6. He told me last night he has learned so much , been consulted on his care more, and obtained more insight in the few days that he has been on 4B then the entire month at 3-6.

    My point is if you ever find yourself in need of a safe place for psychiatric help do yourself a favor avoid 3-6 like the plague and go over to Universities 4B where they actually care about their patients.

    • Me says:

      My name Patricia,I gave birth to his child 1985 he walked away never helped me trying to reach anne, he is still making my life hell I need advice how to keep him away from me talk about hepa laws he thinks he is above it.If anyone could give me advice please do

  2. Jackie Hebrank says:

    Ok, now what do I do after reading this I really don’t want Dr. Levine as my new temporary psychiatrist, but i need one. I will be in Syracuse for 6 months and I need a prescription for medication once a month. Everyone else I called there is no longer taking new patients. Can you recommend some psychiatrists that would possibly take a new patient. I am willing to travel up to 30 minutes away if I have to. I have come to far to have my situation messed with now.

    • annecwoodlen says:

      You might try Dr. Nasri Ghaly, explaining that this is only for prescriptions for six months. Better yet, ask for his physician assistant or nurse practitioner. One of the urgentcare/promptcare places might accommodate you. Also, there is a psychiatrist at HealthPathways on E. Genesee St. who has just started practice and might be cooperative. If you run out of meds then you could go to any emergency room. Can you pay privately? Do you have a letter from your home psychiatrist stating what drug you need and the dose and frequency?

      • Jackie Hebrank says:

        Well have plenty of medications. And my doctor now is willing to forward any paper work necessary. As a matter of fact I could most likely go to a regular MD for emergency, because my doctor here could just fax the necessary paper work. Thank you for your help. Good luck to you. I also have dealt with a horrible psychiatrist in my past and he really made my life miserable. Some of them just have too much power. So be careful.

      • annecwoodlen says:

        I also have it on good authority that you can go to CPEP–Community Psychiatric Emergency Program–at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Levine used to run it but no longer does. (When asked why St. Joe’s kept Levine as head of the program, a psychiatrist replied, “Because nobody else wants the job.”) CPEP is experienced at writing prescriptions for people in your situation. They will give you a one- or two-month scrip and a referral to a psychiatrist who will write your prescriptions, or you can go back to CPEP later for more scrips. I have written that CPEP is hell but I haven’t been there in a decade. From the provider’s point of view, it is now better; I have no knowledge of the patient’s point of view. Among other things, there are now two or three psychiatrists on each shift, whereas there only used to be one.

  3. Amy says:

    Look me up girl!!!

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