From the Chicago Tribune, 9/30/98:

State probe targets 2nd psychiatrist
by Cornelia Grumman, Tribune Staff Writer

Broadening a probe of into doctors it charges are misusing controversial repressed-memory therapies, the state agency that regulates medical professionals filed a complaint Tuesday against a second psychiatrist involved in treating the Burgus family of Glen Ellyn.

The state is seeking to revoke the medical license of Dr. Elva Poznanski for her treatment and care of the two Burgus boys, ages 3 and 5 at the time, while she was chief of child psychiatry at Rush- Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago.

Poznanski, the eight-count gross-negligence complain alleges, helpd to make John and Michael Burgus falsely believe they possessed multiple personalities, were abused and engaged in satanic activity.

"She brought real guns into therapy with my children, supposedly to see if indeed my children had been trained to use real guns," said Patricia Burgus, 423, who last year won a $10.6 million civl settlement against Poznanski; her colleague Dr. Bennett Braun; and Rush- Presbyterian-St. Luke's. "She allowed my son John to handcuff her as part of his therapy. He was told this was part of his cult activities.

Neither Poznanski nor her attorney, Scott Hammer, could be reached for comment Tuesday. John Pontarelli, a spokesman for Rush- Presbyterian-St. Luke's, declined to comment because he had not seen the complaint.

Poznanski is the second psychiatrist involved in the controversial therapies to be scrutinized by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation this month. Three weeks ago, DPR filed similar charges against Braun, who is considered a leader in the field of recovered memory therapy and multiple personalities.

The charges are unlikely to stop there. DPR officials said they are investigating other psychiatrists and psychologists involved in what they call egregious and damaging cases of repressed memory therapy.

Braun and Poznanski, Tuesday's complaint alleges, oversaw the treatment and three-year "incarceration" of the Burgus Brothers in Rush's child psychiatric ward in Chicago.

The two also treated Patricia Burgus, who came to believe through "recovered" memories that she possessed more than 300 personalities, ate more than 2,000 humans a year and was a satanic high priestess of the Midwest.

"[Poznanski] is just as responsible as Dr. Braun with regard to the two children," said Tom Glasgow, DPR's chief of medical prosecutions. "It's questionable even if a diagnosis for multiple personality disorder can be made for children that age. She knew-- or should have known--inpatient therapy for them would be far more damaging than helpful."

But Braun's attorney, Harvey Harris, called Poznanski a well- respected leader and practitioner in her field.


In an update on the complaint filed against Braun -- he was supposed to have a preliminary hearing and file his response on Sept. 28 -- all I could find out was that his lawyer filed some motions and the next date for a hearing is Nov. 9 (also when the Poznanski hearing is supposed to be). Unfortunately, DPR's main public information officer left the agency a couple weeks ago and they don't have a replacement yet. I've been unable to get in touch with the lead prosecutor since this was filed (I talked to him once a couple weeks ago about the Braun filing).


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