The Boston Globe
By Judith Gaines
August 26, 2001

Psychiatrist William Kadish

Psychiatrist William Kadish

The two women trusted their doctor, and he concedes that he betrayed that trust in “grotesque” ways.

Citing “gross misconduct in the practice of medicine” and “extreme deviation from any clinically appropriate standard of care,” the Massachusetts Board of Registry in Medicine last week revoked the license of William A. Kadish, 44, who was director of psychiatry at UMass Memorial Marlborough Hospital.

At the hospital, Kadish supervised physicians and patients, planned curriculum, lectured on treating addiction and abuse, and, according to some colleagues, was highly regarded. Married for 16 years, he’s coached soccer for five years, and taught Sunday school for two years.

But the board’s complaint, which he largely has admitted, points to a darker, harmful side of his personality.

According to the complaint, he had a sexual relationship with one of his clients, referred to only as Patient A, which left her “severely traumatized.” He photographed her nude and partially clothed “in suggestive poses,” and encouraged her to do the same to him. He insinuated himself into the life of another woman, Patient B, in a way that caused her “severe psychological and emotional anguish.”

When confronted with the charges by hospital executives on April 30, Kadish voluntarily surrendered his license and cooperated with the ensuing investigation. He has waived his right to appeal the board’s decision to revoke his license.

Patient A, 38, a single, unemployed mother of two living in the Marlborough area, sought help from Kadish beginning in 1994. She was suffering from depression, low self-esteem, and a condition sometimes known as multiple personality disorder. But Kadish’s treatment compounded her problems “by drawing out more than 20 different personalities identified by him,” according to the patient’s lawyer, Stanley Spero, of Spero and Jorganson, a Cambridge firm that specializes in psychiatric malpractice cases.

Kadish gave her different personalities a life of their own by addressing letters to them, which he often signed with different personalities of his own and the salutation “Love Without Fear.”
One form of Kadish’s “treatment” was what Spero described as “heartbeat therapy.” Kadish had the patient listen to his heartbeat through his shirt and then his bare chest. Then he opened her shirt and listened to hers. Eventually, he had sex with some of her personalities, including one about 4 to 7 years old, Spero said.

Another of Patient A’s personalities was a macho type apparently inured to pain. After she slit her wrists, she received stitches at a hospital. Kadish met her there, had her released, had sex with her in his office, and had her returned to the hospital, Spero said. “The very next day, he saw her again, had sex with her again, and had her released. A few days later, she burned herself badly, causing severe scarring,” he said.

Patient B is a 48-year-old single woman, unemployed, who asks that the community where she lives not be revealed. The board’s complaint states that Kadish, who treated her from 1991 until May 2001, exchanged small gifts and cards with her, dined with her at restaurants, made interest-free loans to her, and was a beneficiary on her bank account.

Kadish said Patient B made him her bank account beneficiary without his knowledge. But he admits most of the board’s other charges.

“It is astonishing to me . . . that I was capable of the behavior for which I am being justly sanctioned,” he said in an Aug. 8 statement to the board. “I am deeply ashamed of myself for having betrayed my patient, my profession, my wife and family, my colleagues, and all those who have depended on me.”

Kadish said that his behavior was “an extreme and grotesque deviation from any rational conception of treatment.” But, he said the sexual behavior with Patient A has never occurred to even a minor extent with any other patient. “I gradually developed severe distortions in my thinking . . . and succumbed to substantial psychological pressure,” he added, insisting he is “in no way a predator.”

Sheldon Benjamin, who supervises education and training for UMass Medical School, wrote to the board that Kadish “has a great deal to contribute to the field of psychiatry and it is my hope that he will one day be able to return to it.”

But Spero, who represents both patients, told the board that “problems related to Dr. Kadish’s treatment were known within the hospital administration.”


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William Kadish