Seduced patient's suicide spurs malpractice probe

March 31, 1992|By New York Times News Service

BOSTON -- The Massachusetts medical board held an emergency meeting last night to investigate charges of medical malpractice against a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist accused of seducing a student at the school and leading him to commit suicide.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Margaret Bean-Bayog, was charged in court papers filed last week with trying to convince the patient that he was her child, writing him reams of graphically detailed pornographic and sometimes sadomasochistic fantasies and engaging in sex with him.

Her patient, Paul Lozano, committed suicide last April by injecting himself with cocaine a year after she terminated his therapy because he could no longer afford to pay her, according to the documents filed in Middlesex Superior Court.

Neither Dr. Bean-Bayog nor her lawyer, James J. Barry, returned phone calls yesterday. But in a statement to Boston television stations Friday she termed the charges "outlandish and false," saying, "I categorically deny that I ever had any sexual relations with this patient or that I otherwise exceeded the proper bounds of psychotherapy."

The papers, filed by the Lozano family as part of a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit, charge that Dr. Bean-Bayog, who is 48, manipulated her patient "into a dangerous cycle of regression and transference wherein the patient was caused to become completely dependent, as a 3-year-old child, on Dr. Bean-Bayog as his mother." At the same time, the suit contends, Dr. Bean-Bayog made him "participate in vivid sadomasochistic sexual fantasies," and made him have sexual intercourse with her.

As evidence, the Lozanos' lawyer, Andrew C. Meyer Jr., introduced several thousand pages of letters and notes alleged to be in Dr. Bean-Bayog's handwriting, including flash cards she gave Mr. Lozano with orders to "run over these cards every day until you know them all by heart and are starting to believe them."

One card reads: "I'm your Mom and I love you and you love me very very much. Say that 10 times." Another card reads: "I love spending time with you. I'm going to miss you, so many things about you, the closeness and the need and the phenomenal sex and being so appreciated."

Mr. Lozano was a 28-year-old fourth-year student at Harvard Medical School when he died. He sought counseling in July 1986 during his third year at medical school after coming to feel "depressed, homesick and lonely," according to his sister, Pilar Williams, a nurse in El Paso, Texas. She said she found the material from Dr. Bean-Bayog in her brother's apartment shortly before he committed suicide.

According to his sister, his family's pediatrician and lawyers for the family, Mr. Lozano had no history of mental illness before he began seeing Dr. Bean-Bayog. In the four years she treated him she frequently had him hospitalized, according to documents filed with the lawsuit.

After Dr. Bean-Bayog stopped seeing Mr. Lozano in June 1990, he sought help from another psychiatrist, Dr. William Barry Gault. Mr. Lozano was then suicidal, Dr. Gault wrote at the time.

One of the major questions about the case is why the state Board of Registration in Medicine did not act sooner. Mr. Meyer, the Lozanos' lawyer, said that Dr. Gault had filed a complaint with the board as early as October 1990, six months before Mr. Lozano killed himself, about how Dr. Bean-Bayog had treated her patient.

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