February 12, 1997 in Nation/World

Psychiatric Re-Evaluation Patient Diagnosed With 120 Personalities Billed For Group Therapy

Associated Press
 

A woman is suing her former psychiatrist for malpractice, claiming he convinced her she had 120 personalities - and then charged her insurance company for group therapy.

Nadean Cool testified Monday that the $300,000 treatment by Dr. Kenneth Olson had left her suicidal and haunted by false memories. Her supposed personalities included a duck, Satan and angels who talked to God.

“Before I knew it, I was hypnotized,” Cool, a former nurse’s aide, testified Monday. “And when I came out of it, he said, ‘I knew it. I knew it. I knew you were a great candidate.”’

Olson’s lawyer, David Patton, says the psychiatrist correctly diagnosed multiple personality disorder and that no malpractice occurred because it was Cool who had suggested she was possessed by the devil.

Olson, now practicing in Bozeman, Mont., agonized over his patient’s condition and refused to abandon her, said Patton, who described Cool as a “very troubled person” who had been abused.

Cool and her insurance company, Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin, are suing Olson, St. Elizabeth Hospital and Legion Insurance Co. of Pennsylvania.

Blue Cross, which paid about $113,000 to Olson and $114,000 to St. Elizabeth, said Olson billed for group sessions, claiming he was counseling more than one person because of Cool’s alleged split personalities.

Cool also is suing St. Elizabeth Hospital, claiming it had allowed Olson to perform an exorcism on her there and didn’t monitor the drugs prescribed for her.

Her lawyer, William Smoler, accused Olson of implanting false memories in Cool’s mind, including supposed childhood incidents of sexual assault, rape, being pushed into an open grave and aborting a baby after a fall.

Cool testified she didn’t have these memories before seeing Olson but that Olson had insisted the memories were real. She said the false memories caused nightmares, flashbacks, daily thoughts of death and, eventually, the need for hospitalization.

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