New York Post
State yanks license of NYC shrink patients called ‘nuts’
By Melissa Klein
June 13, 2020
The state Board for Professional Medical Conduct’s concluded that Dr. Irene Gurvits “was not addressing her own psychiatric problems.” Its action came almost a decade after the state first learned she was ill — when her own lawyer asked that she get psychiatric help, documents show.
Patients say the doctor’s conduct was so bizarre — including smoking during sessions, constantly eating pretzels and leaving the office door open for others to hear private conversation — that some saw her only once and fled.
A Bronx man recounted to The Post a 2016 visit where the doctor told him, “‘That’s bulls–t’ to almost everything I said and when I expressed a concern related to my social anxiety, she said, ‘Who cares?!’”
He continued: “I’m confused as to how she was ever licensed to begin with. There were a few moments where I thought I was on some sort of weird prank show.”
Another patient wrote in 2017 Yelp review: “This doctor is JUST PLAIN NUTS! She told me that she’s actually a schizophrenic, then denied it, then told me it was true. She started calling me at midnight and asking what I was doing, then sent me bizarre emails talking about drugs that they’d fed her in the hospital to ‘shut her up.’”
Gurvits, 62, was referred to a state doctors’ assistance program in 2012, but failed to continue her treatment, documents in the disciplinary case against her show.
A psychiatrist, at the Department of Health’s request, later evaluated her and found she had “major depressive disorder with psychotic features,” according to the documents.
Yet, despite the diagnosis, Gurvits, who also once had an office in Midwood, was allowed to see patients if she took her meds, saw a doctor and was supervised by a monitor.
She continued to offer odd therapy.
Richard Sepekoff, 67, an Upper West side man, said Gurvits asked him for help sorting out her own insurance issues and to speak to her mother who needed assistance shredding documents. He saw her in 2015.
“She seemed that she was volatile and angry at a lot of people,” he said. “She consistently brought up her personal life on a non-stop basis.
He said he filed a complaint with the state but never heard from investigators.
State probers interviewed three patients who said Gurvits disagreed with diagnoses she had previously given them, and told them she thought she was being followed.
In the case of two patients, she refused to prescribe their medications “until they helped her move,” and used the credit card of one for her personal expenses, according to documents.
Gurvits refused to attend a July 2019 disciplinary proceeding and did not comply with an order for a psych evaluation, state records show.
The disciplinary committee concluded last month that pulling her license “was the only appropriate means of protecting the public from the potential harm.”
Gurvits did not return requests for comment.