The Arrest of Sandy Hook Killer’s Psychiatrist Raises a Host of Issues

May 8th, 2016 | Breaking News

Dr. Paul Fox, the primary psychiatrist for Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, has been charged with three felony counts of sexual assault on a then 19 year-old patient that reportedly occurred back in 2010-2011. Getting to Fox’s arrest has been a complicated journey, raising a host of issues that, frankly, need to be addressed.

First the original investigation, regarding accusations of sexual assault, was conducted four years ago in March of 2012 by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. During that investigation several important issues came to light, one of which involved Fox’s psychiatric drug prescribing practices.

According to the investigative file, over the course of one year, Fox prescribed what the victim called a “dynamic cocktail of psychiatric drugs.” The “constantly changing mix” of psychiatric drugs included: Ativan (anxiety), Saphris (bi-polar disorder), Abilify (schizophrenia), Nuvigil (sleep apnea, narcolepsy), Prozac (Major-depression, OCD), Zyprexa (Schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder), Xanax, and Vistaril (anxiety, tension). Vistaril also is used as a sedative and for general anesthesia.

After reviewing the above cocktail of psychiatric drugs, one can only wonder how anyone could even remotely believe the victim participated in “consensual” sex with Fox, especially in light of the victim’s comment that she was “usually drugged up out of (her) mind…” That is an understatement, and begs the question: if Fox is drugging his patient’s with cocktails of drugs, was Adam Lanza a victim of Fox’s prolific drugging?  How many different psychiatric diagnoses did Fox subjectively bestow on Adam Lanza and what kind of psychiatric “dynamic cocktail” was Lanza prescribed while a “patient” under Fox’s “care.”

Tough to know. The State refuses to release Lanza’s mental health records or autopsy/toxicology results and Fox claims to have little memory of Lanza. Fox also claims to have destroyed his medical records prior to his 2012 departure to New Zealand.   Apparently law enforcement never thought it important, at least, to review Fox’s billing records, which Fox claims still existed in December of 2012. So how about now? Has Fox retained the billing records of his patients and will law enforcement finally look at them?

This is an important question. When Fox surrendered his medical license in July 2012 he also agreed (as a condition of surrender) to adhere to the records retention laws of Connecticut (19a-14-44). Fox was required to retain all medical and billing records for patients up to seven years after the last date of “treatment.” If one accepts that Fox last saw Lanza in 2007, then Fox admits he destroyed Lanza’s “treatment” records two years too early. And, of course, one can only assume that the records of the alleged victim(s) of Fox’s reported sexual assault also have been destroyed.

Furthermore, one has to wonder what responsibility the Department of Health has when it comes to alleged sexual predators masquerading as doctors and working as counselors in the state’s universities. According to the investigation, the State Department of Health concluded that “review of the documentation identified exchanges between the patient and the respondent that exceed the boundaries of a professional doctor, patient relationship.”

But has the public health and welfare been served by allowing the doctor to simply surrender his license? Should the State be required to, at a minimum, report serious sexual assault allegations to local law enforcement?

And one simply cannot ignore what appears to be another questionable patient “treatment” problem which has arisen in New Zealand, where Fox fled to practice psychiatric counseling. Fox reportedly “treated” Nicky Stevens, a young man who died while under psychiatric care in New Zealand.

The questions regarding that case are too numerous to even consider. But one cannot help but question the obvious. If Fox surrendered his license to practice medicine and prescribe drugs in July of 2012, how was he allowed to practice psychiatric counseling and prescribe psychiatric drugs in New Zealand?

Additionally, Danbury State’s Attorney, Stephen Sedensky, will be prosecuting Fox’s case, because he tells Ablechild that the sexual assault charges are “the strongest.”   But Ablechild cannot help but wonder why Sedensky, who, according to the Sandy Hook investigation, knew about the allegations of Fox’s sexual assault, the failure of Fox to retain his records and the questionable psychiatric drugging back in 2012, didn’t initiate an investigation of Fox at that time. The information, that was available in 2012, hasn’t changed.

These are important questions because there are victims of what appear to be blatant psychiatric abuses. These are important questions because, in the immediate aftermath of Sandy Hook, Connecticut lawmakers passed sweeping, costly, mental health legislation without having any information to warrant the increased mental health services.

In fact, based on what has been revealed in the Department of Health investigation about Dr. Paul Fox, Adam Lanza’s last known primary psychiatrist, it would appear that an investigation into psychiatric practices in the state were actually needed. And if ever there was an argument for release of Lanza’s mental health records for the five years leading up to the shooting, it doesn’t get any better than simply reviewing the long-known unquestionably abusive mental health services provided by Fox.

 

 

 

 

 

Arrest of Psychiatrist Who Treated Adam Lanza May Lead to Answers in Murder Investigation

April 25th, 2016 | Breaking News

According to the Hartford Courant, “Brookfield detectives traveled to Paul Fox’s residence in Peaks Island, Maine, to take him into custody Wednesday with the assistance of Homeland Security Agents. Fox was charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault.”

This is news. The last information that was known about Fox was that he was living and working in New Zealand. It would be of interest to know when, exactly, Fox returned to the states and whether he has been practicing psychiatry in Maine.

But this arrest, now, seems odd. After all, Fox’s alleged sexual assault problems have been public record since at least July 2012. So why the sudden interest in Dr. Paul Fox?

The Hartford Courant broke the story of Fox “voluntarily” surrendering his license to practice medicine in Connecticut and New York, before departing the country for New Zealand in 2012.

And upon learning of Fox’s position as Lanza’s primary psychiatrist, AbleChild filed a FOIA for the investigative file on Fox’s alleged sexual assault, along with a FOIA for the mental health, toxicology and autopsy records of Adam Lanza, (AbleChild vs. Chief Medical Examiner).

The investigation into Fox and the allegations of sexual assault, conducted by Diane Cybulski, Supervising Nurse Consultant, Health Quality and Safety Branch of the Department of Public Health, included not only alleged sexual misconduct, but also several other issues, including the distribution of controlled substances according to Exhibit P, (CVS Pharmacy Records), questionable billing practices and patient records retention.

For example, according to the records, during Fox’s “treatment” of his 19-year old patient, not only was Fox prescribing numerous – “three or four” – psychiatric mind-altering drugs, but the psychiatrist also was providing the patient with free drug samples (page 69 of report), and the patient’s mother reported that, “she was turning into a zombie.”

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).

As for state records retention, according to the Courant, State police detectives investigating the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School talked with Fox in New Zealand, where he was living at the time. Fox told detectives in a Dec. 17, 2012 telephone interview that he had destroyed any records he had of his treatment of Lanza (Investigation document 00260339 -Book 7).  Based on the investigative records and state law, Fox last saw Lanza in 2007, making the destruction of the records two years too soon.

Fox did, however, advise law enforcement officials that he had retained his patient billing records. One can only wonder why investigators failed to follow this lead, as billing records offer a great deal of information about a patient’s treatment.

But, regardless of sloppy investigating, Fox’s arrest raises many issues beyond the alleged sexual assault, including the following:

*          Fox provided counseling services at a state university. Was Western Connecticut State University aware of Dr. Fox’s sexual relationships with students at the university and, if yes, did the university file a report with the Department of Public Health, any state oversight agency, or even law enforcement?

*          When information on Dr. Fox’s alleged sexual assault finally was brought to the attention of the State Department of Public Health, why was Fox given what can only be described as a “sweetheart” deal?

*          Alleged sexual abuse is not only an ethical issue, but also a criminal matter, so did the State Department of Public Health have an obligation to alert law enforcement?

*          Now that Fox has returned to the states, and clearly under the watchful eye of law enforcement, will Sandy Hook investigators request Fox’s billing records for psychiatric “treatment” of Adam Lanza?

*          Why did the state wait a year before releasing the name of Adam Lanza’s treating psychiatrist?

*          Did Adam Lanza, while under the psychiatric care of Dr. Fox or while a patient at Yale Child Study Center, participate in a clinical trial?

*          Could Nancy Lanza’s notes, now being withheld by the state, provide additional information about the treatment Adam Lanza received while under Fox’s care that might expose further violations of FDA clinical trial record retention laws?

Dr. Fox’s reemergence is odd, but it has ignited a renewed interest in the specific mental health services he provided to Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza.

There still are too many unanswered questions about Lanza’s mental health history, and Dr. Fox’s return should be taken by Sandy Hook investigators as an opportunity to finally get some documentable information from, at minimum, Fox’s billing records.

Fox’s case also provides an opportunity for the state of Connecticut to conduct a review of the way medical ethics violations are handled and, perhaps, even establishing real consequences for egregious behavior by those in the medical profession.

Fox finally is being held responsible for the alleged sexual assault that lost him his medical license and, apparently, forced his swift departure from the U.S. Only time will tell if state oversight agencies and law enforcement officials will take advantage of the opportunity presented in Fox’s return.

 

 

 

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