I am enjoying the book I am reading about Libby Zion, written by Natalie Robins, called The Girl Who Died Twice. I have seen a few of the reviews of this book, mostly negative. I don’t agree that the book is “badly written.” I do see where Robins gets a bit bogged down with Libby’s father’s personality. Sidney Zion seems to be quite the character, for sure, and I feel he deserves credit for bringing the case to the level of publicity it received.
Think about this for a minute. Those of us who have been medically harmed…Can we even get an attorney to call us back? Think of the hours and hours we spend on the phone just trying to get one to speak to us. Think of the hours we spend getting responses like, “So what is the big deal?”
Look at the trouble we run into obtaining our medical records, which come back to us full of missing pages, lies, misstatements, inaccuracies, obvious “fudging,” and endless excuses! So many folks I know have tried to get their medical records and were told, “No such patient was ever at our facility!”
However, Sidney Zion was not going to take NO for an answer. He had money and clout. No one likes death. No one wants death. But there was death, sitting there like an ugly black mark New York Hospital had to account for.
But… I don’t think New York Hospital was at fault, nor do I think Libby was at fault. She already had a high fever when she came in, and was delirious, unable to think straight. Looks like the court did what it had to do…after ten years of squabbling. They decided to split the “fault” between Libby and the hospital. I don’t think that makes sense, either, but somehow, something was overlooked.
Libby came in on Nardil, and somehow, there was miscommunication and no one understood the importance of knowing that she was on this drug. You can’t give someone certain other drugs if she’s on Nardil, even if she hadn’t taken it for a few days. A few days means nothing. She’d been on it for a good solid six weeks or so.
I am not done with the book. Looks like Libby’s outpatient psychiatrist, Greenburg, did some bogus stuff and he was never faulted, nor even questioned. Sidney Zion had much trust in Greenburg. He was a family friend. I question a family friend also being a shrink to one of the kids, that is, the ethics of this. In a place like New York City, the Zions had access to plenty of psychiatrists. So they didn’t have to resort to a family friend. Greenburg should not have treated her. He should have referred her elsewhere. Ethically speaking, that is.
What did he treat her with? Biofeedback. This was the first course of action. So he resorted to this as first course. Even then, biofeedback was dubious. Now, certainly. Why did he start with something dubious? She didn’t respond as well as he would have liked.
So then, apparently, according to Robins, he “tested her for a chemical imbalance.” Robins does not (so far in my reading) state exactly what sort of test this was. Did Natalie Robins even ask Greenburg what the test was? Did Robins even know there’s no test, no viable test that can detect such “chemical imbalance” that proves, or disproves, some sort of “brain imbalance” that Greenburg claimed Libby had? He claimed that Libby had an “atypical depression.”
I’m wondering if he was only inventing this after the fact, as justification for having put her on the Nardil. Listen: Nardil is not a usual drug. You can’t give it to anyone willy-nilly. It isn’t wise to give to a person 18 years old. He should not have given it to her without informing her PCP or pediatrician. Even though there was a confidentiality issue, the drug is so, so dangerous if mixed with other drugs, we’re dealing with a kid here! Or, he should have bargained with Libby that she wear a Medic Alert Bracelet stating she was on Nardil, or else he would not write the script. That alone could have saved her life.
If he was going to be responsible, he needed to stress to her, or to her parents, since she was barely an adult, just how risky this drug was. Why on earth he was giving this risky drug to a teen as first course of action is beyond me. And not only that, but he was seeing her short term. The plan was for her to go back to college, five hours away. He was dismissing her from his care. Who would follow up? So he was putting her on Nardil, a dangerous drug, and then what? Then she died.
Not only that, but back in the 1980’s a patient and her therapist had a close relationship. Not like nowadays. Much closer. Apparently, Libby was seeing this guy maybe twice a week. At least. And I believe spending a good hour or more each “session” doing this biofeedback. So I want to know why Greenburg, who supposedly knew her ins and outs so well, had no clue of her drug use? Aren’t they supposed to know that stuff, or at least suspect?
Yes, I have been to therapists who were clueless, very good ones, too. Good ones who really didn’t know what my daily life was like, nor had any clue what I felt passionate about. They knew about “symptoms” which had no relevance to me, who I was inside. This speaks volumes to the irrelevance of their therapy, to the ineffectiveness of their methods. And perhaps they should have scrapped their agenda, too, and just asked, or listened maybe.
And who got blamed for Libby’s death? It looks like after she showed up at the ER and ended up in on the hospital inpatient unit, the receiving hospital got the brunt of the blame. “Tired doctors.” I’m tired of this nonsense. The outpatient shrink went free. What the heck happened to Greenburg? Is he still practicing his bogus shrinkery, testing patients for chemical imbalances that don’t even exist, prescribing dangerous drugs and not following up? Have there been any more wrongful deaths at his hand? What is the relationship between Sydney Zion and Greenburg now?
I am still reading the book and will let you guys know what else I am thinking.