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It was a media fantasty come true. It was a story about sex, doctors, suicide and even Harvard.
It was the story of Dr. Margaret H. Bean-Bayog '65, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist accused of driving her patient, Medical School student Paul Lozano, to suicide after having an affair with him.
Throughout the spring the Boston psychiatric community watched in astonishment as the Lozano family's accusations--and Bean-Bayog's denials--were splashed across the pages of newspapers and magazines across the country.
At least one Los Angeles production company looked into purchasing the film rights to the case.
And just as media interest in Bean-Bayog began to die down last month, a state hearing officer found another Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Edward M. Daniels, guilty of sexual abuse. Daniels was accused of abusing four of his female patients during the 1960s and 1970s.
These two widely-publicized cases have heightened many people's mistrust of the psychiatric community, especially in the area of psychiatrists' relations with their patients.
The case have also undercut some people's confidence in the regulatory bureaucracy's ability to handle allegations of sexual abuse.
Bean-Bayog herself is currently awaiting trial for a malpractice and wrongful death suit filed by the Lozano family. She is also waiting for her case to go before the Division of Law Appeals, an independent state agency that will conduct a formal hearing on whether she should keep her license to practice medicine.
The Cambridge Hospital psychiatrist has repeately denied charges that she used inappropriate treatment methods or that she had sex with her patient.
But claims that Bean-Bayog drove 28-year-old Paul Lozano to kill himself by making him pretend to be her 3-year-old child have lingered.
Lozano sought the psychiatrist's counseling while studying at Harvard Medical School between 1986 and 1990.
He was hospitalized repeatedly, and eventually killed himself with a cocaine injection in Texas in April 1991, three months before he would have graduated.
But Bean-Bayog maintains that she had nothing to do with the suicide. she says that Lozano "harbored homicidal, violent and delusional thoughts" and that "many psychiatrists would not have even attempted to treat him."
Despite her denials, pressure has mounted on Bean-Bayog and the inquires have continued.
Last May, the Medical School placed Bean-Bayog on administrative leave and removed her from all referral lists after learning that a complaint had been filed.
The state board decided to allow her to continue practicing but only under the supervision of another psychiatrist.
The board found that she treated Lozano using unconventional methods, such as aiding his belief that she was his "mom," and writing "explicit fantasies that may have related to him."
Bean-Bayog acknowledges that her treatment was "unique and somewhat unconventional" but says it was appropriate because Lozano was so severely depressed.
Others who were close to Lozano have recently filed affidavits confirming the psychiatrist's claims that he was constantly depressed and often suicidal.
The family alleges, however, that Bean-Bayog had repeated sexual relations with Lozano. They argue that it was the termination of those relations combined with the "regression therapy" that reduced Lozano to an infant and drove him to suicide.
Although the psychiatrist has denied charges that she had sex with Lozano, his family has filed thousands of pages of documents in court, including accounts of Bean-Bayog's sexual fantasies and a set of flashcards she made for Lozano, one of which mentions "phenomenal sex."
Bean-Bayog says the sexual fantasies made public by the Lozano family were dreams that she recorded in private and never meant for Lozano to see.
She says he broke into her office and stole her personal papers along with his medical records.
Bean-Bayog said the reference to "phenomenal sex" was intended to combat Lozano's depression and was a statement he was attributing to his girlfriend.
The psychiatrist also said that she believed Lozano was physically and sexually abused as a child, though his family pediatrician insists he saw no signs of abuse.
The publicity that surrounded the case has spread the accusations to include others at the Medical School. According to a Cambridge psychotherapist, Harvard Medical School faculty members attempted to cover up for Bean-Bayog.
In an affidavit filed April 1 in Middlesex Superior Court, the psychotherapist, Amy Stromsten, charged that Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Bernard S. Levy "was covering up Dr. Bean-Bayog's serious misconduct."
In addition, Stromsten also charged in the affidavit that Bean-Bayog discussed her "erotic sexual feelings and sexual attraction" toward Lozano during a professional consultation group.
The flood of news reports on the case has slowed, for now, only to start up again when the case eventually goes to trial.
Only when the verdicts are handed down will the ordeal even begin to end for both Bean-Bayog and her former patient's family.
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