Written by Kate Farrish
The State Medical Examining Board on Tuesday voted to allow a Trumbull psychiatrist, who was disciplined eight years ago in an unusual case, to practice in a health care facility on a limited basis.
The board took the action in the case of Liane Leedom, who was sanctioned for allowing her then-husband to practice medicine without a license. Her ex-husband was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison and five years’ probation for posing as a doctor and sexually assaulting women at the clinic where Leedom was medical director. Leedom now maintains on her website that she was a victim of her ex-husband’s actions as a “con artist.”
Dr. Liane Leedom
Leedom had sought the change in a state order because she has been offered a part-time position seeing patients in a facility where the supervising physician may not always be there, state Department of Public Health records show. The change made by the board will allow her to work when other licensed health care providers will be present. Leedom’s medical license remains on probation under a 2010 state consent order.
In 2005, the state reprimanded Leedom and restricted her to non-clinical practice, barring her from running any health care facility or treatment center. That action was based on allegations that between August 2002 and March 2003, she allowed her then-husband, Barry Lichtenthal, to practice medicine without a license at Noah’s Ark, a methadone clinic in Bridgeport where Leedom was medical director, state records show.
The state’s 2005 consent order with Leedom said that Lichtenthal, who called himself Michael Taylor, performed private physical examinations on several of the facility’s patients and sexually assaulted female patients.
In 2004, Lichtenthal, a former investment counselor, was sentenced to five years in prison and probation for sexually assaulting women at the clinic, the Connecticut Post has reported. While Leedom was on maternity leave, Lichtenthal performed sexual experiments on young women at the clinic before giving them methadone, the Post reported. In one case, according to the Post, he connected wires to two women’s breasts and attached the wires to an EKG machine because he said had to determine if the women were lesbians before giving them medication.
Lichtenthal was sent back to prison for 30 days for violating his probation after police said he again posed as a doctor, the Post reported in 2011.
Leedom was charged with putting patients at risk and defrauding the Medicaid program, according to the Psychiatric Crime Database operated by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in Los Angeles. The fraud charges were dropped, but Leedom pleaded no contest to conspiracy to misuse the title “doctor” and two counts of reckless endangerment and was sentenced to two years’ probation, according to the database.
In 2010, the medical examining board issued a reinstatement consent order for Leedom, placing her license on three years’ probation and imposing permanent restrictions.
On her web site “Justlikehisfather.com,” Leedom said she “made the mistake of her life” when she unknowingly married a “con artist.” While she does not name Lichtenthal, she said she had a son with him in 2002. When her husband was arrested, the “truth regarding his character became apparent to me,” she wrote.
In other business, the state board:
• Reprimanded Dr. Ralph V. Tremaglio of Naugatuck for prescribing medication to his wife, while not maintaining a medical record, from May 2011 to June 2012. According to DPH, records indicate that about 21 Ambien prescriptions and one prescription for Sonata were written during that timeframe.
• Reprimanded Dr. Thomas Kucharchik of Mystic for prescribing medication that did not meet the standard of care, according to DPH. Kucharchik treated a patient from March 2008 to March 2009, while employed at the Community Health Center in New London. The patient had a history of hepatitis-C, depression, PTSD and anxiety, and ultimately died of oxycodone toxicity. Kucharchik was cited for failing to recognize the patient’s potential or actual abuse of the controlled substances he prescribed.
The board placed a restriction on Kucharchik’s license requiring that after May 31, he may practice in Connecticut only after notifying DPH 90 days in advance. Kucharchik notified DPH that he is leaving for South Carolina to take a job at the Hampton Regional Medical Center as of June 1.
• The board denied Dr. Jeffrey Lane’s request to modify a memorandum of decision. In December, the board fined the East Lyme gynecologist $2,000 for lapses in care during cosmetic surgery and placed him on probation for a year. State investigators found that he did not properly instruct his staff in how to sterilize equipment prior to 2011 and allowed an unlicensed employee – his wife – to perform laser procedures, records show. State officials also found that Lane had prescribed drugs to relatives or employees in 2009, 2010 and 2011 without maintaining proper records, reports show.