Two patients die after group therapy at Berlin doctor’s office

By Terrapinzflyer · Sep 20, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Two patients die after group therapy at Berlin doctor’s office

    A deadly drug cocktail may have caused the deaths of two men and the poisoning of 10 others at a Berlin doctor’s office Saturday, police reported.
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    The poisoning occurred during a group therapy session at a doctor’s office in the Berlin neighbourhood of Hermsdorf Saturday afternoon.

    A 59-year-old man died on the scene and a 28-year-old man died later Saturday evening in hospital after falling into a coma. A third man remained in a coma. The other patients were released Saturday evening.

    Police arrested a 50-year-old doctor on the scene.

    Media reports say the drug cocktail may have included a mixture of heroin, amphetamines and Ecstasy. There was no word as to whether the deadly combination was injected or offered in tablet form.

    A sign in front of the doctor’s office offered special psychiatric treatments including psychoactive substances. These reportedly included LSD and psychedelic mushrooms, which are illegal in Germany.

    According to the daily Berliner Zeitung, the crime scene was roped off Sunday.

    DPA/The Local
    Published: 20 Sep 09 11:39 CET

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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Germany probes therapy poisoning

    Police in Berlin say two people have died and a third is in a coma after taking part in a group therapy session.
    At least 12 people involved in the psychotherapy class were taken to hospital with suspected poisoning.
    A doctor who was leading the session has been arrested and detectives are investigating the case, police added.
    A police spokesman said participants were given certain substances. He did not specify. Some reports say heroin, amphetamines and ecstasy were used.
    The group was taking part in a group psychotherapy session in Berlin's Hermsdorf district on Saturday, when the emergency services were called by one of the participants, reports say.
    A Berlin police spokesman, Michael Gassen, said: "At this session the participants were given substances. What kind of substances these are... has to be investigated now."
    According to local media reports, the group took a mixture of heroin, amphetamines and ecstasy. It is unclear whether the drugs were injected or taken in tablet form, local reports add.
    Police say a 59-year-old and a 28-year-old were amongst the dead. Some reports say a number of the participants who had been taken to hospital were discharged on Sunday.

    Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Sunday, 20 September 2009 15:38 UK
  2. sandoz1943
    How sad this will only set back legitimate therapy. If the reports are true how utterly irresponsible of the doctor in question.
  3. g666d
    Find it strange a fifty year old doctor could fuck up dosage like that.
  4. Makesmefeelbig
    I'd have to agree- there's something very strange going on here. Has anyone on this forum ever accidentally dosed themselves with too much? SWIM hasn't. I imagine one would be even more careful when preparing a cocktail of different drugs for someone other than themselves.
    And if this took place at a doctor's office, he probably had access to pharmaceutical, clean, clearly labelled drugs. I find it hard to believe this was a complete accident. Either way, the doctor is guilty of manslaughter, and I can't say I feel sorry for him.

    EDIT: And why the fuck (excuse my French but it's called for) would participants in a psychotherapy session be dosed with heroin? It could just be the media not checking their facts, but if it's true that's another question that needs answering.
  5. Terrapinzflyer
    ^^^ turtle would disagree with the above two posts. Turtle doubts this was authorized and that the dr had access to pharmaceutical quality drugs.
    And turtle would argue that there a quite a few people here who have OD'd (though obviously not died) . Turtle has witnessed a few himself. If the DR was a regular user himself it could be very easy for him to misjudge a dose for new users- especially if it was a cocktail.
    And age has little to do with it- just look at malpractice cases in general- its not only inexperienced doctors that make mistakes, and turtle can vouch that when one becomes very familiar with a drug it is all to easy to get lax with it.

    I definitely agree with Sandoz on this one- if nothing else it will warp the publics opinion of psyhotherapy using drugs. It will be interesting to see what info comes out in the coming days/weeks.
  6. SullyGuy
    :mad: This ires my orangutan more than any drug bust or ignorant reporter ever could. These substances have legitimate and amazing psychotherapy potential! They need the good press now more than ever, and this goon has shot that research in the foot!

    Hopefully this doesn't get cited much on Clyde's side of the pond... one step forwards, two steps back...
  7. Smirnoff
    heard that shit on the news today... what kind of reputation does it give to the drug world...
  8. g666d
    No, this is part of being a doctor. Understanding dosages. Is why they go to medical school for 6 odd years; it is not easy to misjudge, it is incompetent. I would have thought such incompetence would have been found out earlier in his career, or when he failed his first/second year exams.

    If quality was unknown, he should have started doses low and slowly moved up. This is obvious, and narcaine should have been on supply just in case. If it was just XTC, amph and H, results would have been predictable, and easily researched. Incompetence. [edit] Swim thinks this story is dodgy
  9. Alfa
    The news reports make little sense to me, aside from their sensationalism.
  10. Terrapinzflyer
    Both my better half and father are doctors. they are still human. They can, and do make mistakes, as do we all.

    And I agree with Alfa- been following this story as closely as possible and real facts are beyond scarce. I think its a classic example of something happening, nobody knowing what, and the media feeling they must publish something...anything. After all the initial BS this one might take some time to unravel.
  11. chinpokomaster
    Here they go again - mentioning LSD, shrooms, speed and e in the same breath as heroin when mentioning people's deaths.
  12. Terrapinzflyer
    Deadly Group Therapy in Berlin
    Doctor Denounced as Charlatan

    Two men are dead and one is in a coma. The psychologist whose group therapy session in Berlin ended in tragedy this weekend has admitted to administering drugs to his patients. The man is reported to be an adherent of a controversial Swiss psychotherapist who has set up a polygamous commune and questioned the incest taboo.

    A group session at a doctor's house in northern Berlin left two men dead and another in a coma after their therapist gave them a dangerous cocktail of drugs.

    Prosecutors say the psychologist has since admitted to giving 12 patients drugs. "The people all got different mixtures of drugs," one of the investigators told reporters. The prosecutors told reporters that the doctor had since told them which substances were administered but they would not make an official announcement until they had the toxicology report.

    The doctor was arrested on Sunday evening with two counts of assault leading to death and six counts of dangerous assault, the police announced on Monday. The public prosecutor is accusing the doctor on two counts of murder, several counts of assault and drug trafficking.

    Deadly Drug Cocktails
    The suspect is reported to have admitted during questioning that he gave various psychoactive substances to the participants in the group therapy session. The investigators assume that the patients were given ecstasy and heroine, and also amphetamines or "magic" mushrooms.

    At 3.21 p.m. on Saturday, the emergency services were called to the doctor's house in the well-to-do Berlin suburb of Hermsdorf. Five ambulances and several paramedics drove to the address, where they found the body of a 59-year-old man. Several members of the group were said to be aggressive when emergency personnel arrived and had to be restrained by police officers. A 28-year-old man was brought to hospital but died early on Sunday morning. Another man, aged 55, is in a coma.

    The doctor, Garik "Garri" R., is reported to have been born in Uzbekistan. He is a registered doctor with insurance companies and is accredited to work as a psychotherapist.

    'My Substances Are Not Dangerous'
    The Berliner Morgenpost newspaper reported on Monday that R. had trained alternative medicine practitioners near the German city of Kassel in the 1990s. One of his former students told the newspaper that he had been a "very reliable doctor" who had always been "super correct." She said, "I cannot explain what happened in Berlin."
    The suspect is an adherent of the controversial Swiss psychiatrist Samuel Widmer, who promotes the use of drugs in therapy. Widmer told the German news agency DPA that the arrested doctor had trained with him 15 years ago. He said that he himself only worked with approved substances and that he assumed that the Berlin doctor "used something different, as my substances are not dangerous."

    The suspect's wife, Elke P., runs an alternative medicine practice in the same house, and she was also at the group session on Saturday. Both were to be instructors in a seminar program organized by Widmer at the Therapeutic Tantric Spiritual University in Switzerland, which specializes in psychedelic work. Widmer also heads a kind of commune in Switzerland called the "Cherry Blossom Community," which claims to include 75 adults and 60 children. Widmer lives with two women and has 11 children by them. In an interview on his own Web site, he criticized the taboo surrounding incest.

    A close relative of the 28-year-old man who died on Saturday told the Tagesspiegel newspaper that the therapy session had not been a "sect meeting." The treatment involved "regular sessions during the week," and "around twice a year, group sessions like this one."

    Protest at Connection with 'Charlatanism'
    During the session on Saturday, drugs were administered which produced physical reactions in some of the participants, including dizziness and vomiting. Someone attending the therapy session sent an SMS message to the emergency services.
    The German Association of Psychotherapists (DPtV) has now distanced itself from the 50-year-old doctor and his treatment methods. These have nothing to do with psychotherapy, Dieter Best, chairman of the DPtV, announced. "Our sympathy goes to the families of the victims. We are shocked that something like this could happen but also protest against the charlatanism that is being practised here being connected with psychotherapy."

    The director of the clinic for psychiatry and psychotherapy at Berlin's Charité hospital, Andreas Heinz, said that this was an extreme breach of trust of a doctor and his patients. Speaking to the Berliner Morgenpost, he said the fact that the practice was registered with the health insurance companies could give participants the impression that this was a reliable, serious treatment. There was even the danger that a doctor could abuse his power over patients to build up a relationship of dependency.

    Lazslo Pota, the vice president of the Association of German Professional Psychologists, said that this kind of use of drugs was "clearly forbidden" under German narcotics law. He said he couldn't comprehend what drove the therapist to administer these substances. Pota said the doctor should be struck off the register.

    Eva Jaeggi, a well known Berlin psychoanalyst, also described what happened over the weekend as charlatanism and said it could damage the reputation of regular therapy. Speaking to the Deutschlandradio station on Monday she said, "He called himself a psychotherapist but what he did was in no way psychotherapy."

    smd -- with wire reports,1518,650308,00.html
  13. g666d
    C'mon, swim has relations that are doctors too. Prescribing a lethal dose of any drug is not a 'mistake', it is negligence (and the fact someone has insurance to cover it does not make it any more excusable.)
    Can understand what you are saying but it just does not apply when people are paying for your experience and knowledge.
    3 sick patients (2 dead) make this point even more explicit.
    Seriously doubt either your partner or parent would prescribe a potentially lethal drug without double checking dose, side effects, abuse potential, genetic profile risks, interaction with other medications... and all that other stuff pay doctors to understand.

    But think this story is more complicated than simple OD.
  14. Potter
    Two dead after Berlin doctor drugs 12 in therapy group

    A German doctor was under arrest Sunday in connection with two deaths, after he administered mind-altering drugs to 12 patients in group therapy.

    One patient phoned emergency services as all 12 collapsed with poisoning symptoms Saturday at the doctor's office in a Berlin suburb.

    A 59-year-old man died soon after and a 28-year-old man in a coma died later in hospital.

    Police said a third man was in critical condition after a coma all night, but the other nine had been discharged from hospital.

    Prosecutors said the doctor, 50, admitted after his detention that he had given 'various substances and psycho-drugs' to the group, but interrogators saw no evidence that he had deliberately wanted to kill.

    The drugs had been intended to 'extend their consciousness.' Police said they could not say yet what drugs were involved.

    The nameplate outside the doctor's office, where he and his family also live, stated he offered 'psycholytic' therapy, possibly a reference to drugs such as LSD and mushroom extracts.

    Unconfirmed accounts in Sunday newspapers said the psychology patients were offered a cocktail of heroin, amphetamines and Ecstasy. Distraught patients fought off the emergency doctors who were trying to help them, and had to be first calmed by police.

    Group therapy is a common treatment for the mentally disturbed, both because it is less costly than individual treatment and because patients experience relief from talking to fellow sufferers.

    Europe News
    Sep 20, 2009, 11:35
  15. Terrapinzflyer
    Group therapy deaths caused by Ecstasy overdoses
    Autopsies show that two men who died after a group therapy session in Berlin last month both suffered an overdose of Ecstasy, daily Berliner Morgenpost reported on Wednesday.

    On September 19, a psychotherapist offered 12 patients drugs for a group session in his Hermsdorf neighbourhood home. Nine patients accepted at least one of the two drugs - Ecstasy and ephedrine. But things went wrong and the two men aged 28 and 59 died. A third 55-year-old man fell into a coma.

    According to Berliner Morgenpost he has now since awoken and his condition is improving.

    The doctor was arrested after the deaths and remains in police custody on suspicion of two counts of bodily harm with fatal consequences and six counts of dangerous bodily harm.

    A sign in front of the doctor’s office offered special psychiatric treatments including psychoactive substances. These reportedly included LSD and psychedelic mushrooms, which are illegal in Germany.

    Berliner Morgenpost reported that members of the therapy group had been offered the drugs at previous sessions and knew what they were doing.

    DPA/The Local
  16. kailey_elise
    Re: Two dead after Berlin doctor drugs 12 in therapy group

    So, was it all 12 or just 9 of them?

    Why would you mix Ecstasy and ephedrine? Why the extra stimulant?

    And what happened to the *GASP!* heroin? Maybe one of the men who died also happens to be a heroin user & they found it in his system or something?

    If everyone got sick, it sounds like the E was messed up in some way - stronger than the doctor was accustomed to getting, or not actually MDMA.

    What a sad story...wish we could get the full, real story, though.

    ~Kailey Elise
  17. Beta
    Even the thread title is dodgy...
  18. Frogster
    Weird story indeed: Obscure therapeutic session with drug Cocktails that contain almost any Class A Drug I know??? But actually, we all know that there are plenty of irresponsible freaks out there who mess up things cause they are too f**d up to land their tantric, esoteric flying saucer on the ground. And such people call themselves "doctor". Ok, i calm down... lets wait for the facts to be coming....

    The Berliner Morgenpost wrote at the 6.10.
    Sorry, that i was too lazy to translate all, but i did not leave out any relevant information in order to build up opinions. My name is not:"The Media"
  19. g666d
    from DEA website: "The single-dose LD50 in humans can only be guessed at, but may be on the order of 10-20 mg/kg (oral.) One recent press report claims a ten year-old girl died after taking at least five 'ecstasy' tablets. Assuming the girl weighed about 40 kg (88 pounds) and the pills contained about 70 mg of MDMA each (and no other drugs), she died from a dose of roughly 9 mg/kg."

    i know, dehydration/overhydration kills more often, but still...
  20. Terrapinzflyer
    Ecstasy doctor admits in court to causing two deaths

    Berlin - A German doctor admitted in court on Thursday to having caused the death of two patients, by giving them a deadly dose of mind-altering drugs during a therapy session last year. "I am responsible for the death of two people," the 51-year-old psychotherapist tearfully told the Berlin court at the opening of the trial.

    However he denied the allegation of attempted murder, and said he had been certain he was giving his patients a safe dosage of the recreational drug ecstasy.

    In total, 12 people participated in the intensive therapy session last September. Of the surviving patients, several were taken to hospital and treated for poisoning.

    The prosecution accused the therapist of bodily harm with fatal consequences as well as attempted murder.

    The doctor began to read a prepared statement in court, but was overcome with emotion and his defence lawyer took over, explaining that it was only upon arrest that his client thought he may have administered an overdose due to defective scales.

    The doctor said he had explained the effect of the drug to the group, and had not forced anybody to take it.

    The prosecution also charged that the therapist hid a 28-year-old patient when the medics arrived, in order to cover up the use of dangerous drugs.

    "That is absurd, I wanted to help and not hurt," the doctor said in response to the attempted murder charge. The patient later died in hospital. A 59-year-old patient also died, in the doctor's practice.

    Outside the courtroom, the defence lawyer said patients carried a certain degree of responsibility themselves, and added that the events were an accident and a personal catastrophe for the doctor.

    One participant in the therapy session had told a newspaper that nine of the 12 patients tried the drugs, in the form of white powder or white tablets. Most of them had been delirious, he added.

    He said the participants had taken drugs in previous sessions too, and that all members of the group understood what was going on. They had each paid between 100-150 euros (135-204 dollars), he had told the paper.

    The trial is to continue Monday, when the first witnesses will testify to the court.

    Thu, 11 Mar 2010 17:30:09 GMT
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