CONTROVERSIAL PSYCHIATRIST SUSPENDED
By Lisa Donovan
October 8, 1999
State officials have suspended the medical license of Chicago psychiatrist Bennett Braun, considered a leader in the controversial field of recovered memory and multiple personality therapy.
Starting Thursday, Braun is prohibited from practicing for two years. After the suspension, he faces a minimum 5-year probation period that precludes him from treating patients diagnosed with multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder.
The Department of Professional Regulation’s disciplinary action comes a year after the state agency filed a nine-count complaint alleging Braun negligently cared for Patricia Burgus, who sought therapy from him in 1986. He also treated her sons.
Burgus, of Glen Ellyn, claims Braun falsely made her believe she engaged in satanic rituals, cannibalism and baby killings–even that she served as a high priestess of a satanic cult. In 1997, she was awarded $10.6 million to be paid by Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s, which didn’t admit wrongdoing in the civil case.
On Thursday, Burgus said in a phone interview she was satisfied that Braun wouldn’t be treating patients for several years.
“I think that considering his age, I think he’s 59, 60, that this was an appropriate (action),” Burgus said, explaining that she felt the doctor might be close to retirement by 2006, when he is eligible to apply for an unrestricted license from the state.
The state had weighed permanent revocation but believed the combination of suspension and probation–which includes medical education–a $5,000 fine and a strict set of practice guidelines, was more prudent. Permanent revocation would likely result in an appeals process that would have allowed the doctor to practice at least three years if the case went through the courts, said DPR director Leonard Sherman.
Braun’s attorney, Harvey Harris, could not be reached for comment.
This summer Braun filed suit against his insurance companies and their attorneys for allegedly settling the 1997 multimillion-dollar malpractice suit without his consent.