Fighting back: Roger Levine, M.D.


I awoke at 3:30 a.m. with a terrible need to say what happened on St. Joseph’s inpatient psychiatry, Unit 3-6.

I attempted suicide for two reasons:  first, it was a rational choice that I’d been considering for months based on my progressive physical deterioration and the failure of social supports.  Second, with my blood sugar 484, Dr. Tucker told me there was nothing more that could be done to treat me.  The impulsivity caused by the high blood sugar combined with rational choice resulted in the suicide attempt.

Afterwards, I went from the Emergency Department to the Observation Unit.  Dr. Tucker said he “couldn’t” admit me to medical; the only choice I had was Psychiatry.  He was going to discharge me home.  He never asked what—if any—help I had at home.  I knew that I was going to get terribly sick and I only had one aide three mornings a week.  I would be sick and without assistance.  I tried to protest the discharge but Tucker said that there is no right to file a complaint with IPRO from Observation.  The only choice I had was Psychiatry.  I didn’t know Roger Levine was the director.

I gave Dr. Tucker what he needed so that I would get the physical care I needed:  I looked him in the eye and said, “If I go home, I will kill myself.”

Tucker asked if I wanted to go to inpatient psychiatry voluntary or by commitment, then shook his head, realizing that was a dumb question, and we both said “voluntary” of course.  A couple minutes later some female doctor walked in and said she worked with Dr.Tucker, then asked me if I’d said “If I go home, I will kill myself.”  I said yes, and asked why she was asking.  She said something about filling out paperwork.  I kept asking her questions and she kept giving me nonspecific bullshit answers.  I finally figured it out:  it was a two-physician commitment and she was the second physician.

When Tucker came back, I was outraged and asked him why I was being committed.  He said, “That’s the way Psychiatry wants it.  They want us to do the paperwork so they don’t have to.”  Tucker has never answered my question:  when he said “Psychiatry” did he mean Dr. Roger Levine?  Did Levine specifically direct that I be committed?  Tucker later said he went along with the commitment because “It would provide better flow.”

At St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. James Tucker is director of Medical Education and Family Medicine Residency, and chief of Hospitalist and Emergency Medicine.  He had a conflict between what was best for his hospital and what was best for his patient.  He opted for “better flow” for his hospital and turned his patient into a prisoner:  he committed me to a madman.

During my first week on Unit 3-6, Mary Clare Edhe (?) from patient relations said she “couldn’t” assist me in filing an OPMC (NYS Dept. of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct) complaint against Roger Levine, however she could and did assist me in filing a grievance with the medical director, Dr. Sulik.  Mary Clare said that within one week I would get a written response to my grievance.

I have not had any response, and it now has been six weeks.

After I was discharged the first—and virtually only thing—I accomplished was filing an OPMC complaint against Levine.  Nine days after I mailed it, it was returned undeliverable.  I took it back to the Post Office and re-sent it.  I have heard nothing.

While I was on St. Joe’s Inpatient Psychiatry, I received no treatment:  no medications, no one-on-one therapy, no group therapy, nothing.

Around 1989, I was admitted to Hutchings under Dr. Jane Kou.  She discharged me suicidal, without medications, a therapist or a psychiatrist.  I took no action against her.  Ten years later, she was covering for Dr. Ghaly at St. Joe’s and wrote me a pass after a five-minute interview.  Out on pass, I overdosed.  When I did not return, Kou said I was out partying and wrote a technical discharge.  She made no effort to find me.  In fact, I spent a month on life support with no likelihood of surviving.  Because I did nothing about a bad psychiatrist, she got a second shot at me and nearly killed me.

Nothing has been done about Roger Levine.  He continues to be a threat to me.

I awake at 3:30 a.m. and am terrified.  I could have taken a Xanax and slept through the night.  I didn’t.  The horror of American psychiatry continues because patients are drugged into not fighting.  Except me.

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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5 Responses to Fighting back: Roger Levine, M.D.

  1. Madam Nomad says:

    Good Morning, Tiger!

  2. You’re amazing. Please keep going. Fighting for the rights of people who can’t do it themselves is great in itself, but you are also helping to break the stereotype that mentally ill people (myself included) are useless and have no idea what is going on.

    • annecwoodlen says:

      If mentally ill people are useless and have no idea what is going on, it is only because physicians prescribing pharmaceuticals make them that way. “Kitten of Doom”–ha, ha–that resonates with me. Hang in there, kitty.

  3. patricia says:

    Dr levine and I had a child together in1985 he left me to bring her up on my own,never paid child suport or help with medical needs,he has been harasing me for years,I would love to speak with Anne ,please get back to me thank you.

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