Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Stuff you can't make up ...

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Prominent Psychologist Faces Charges
Eating Disorder Expert Inhaled Gas, Police Say
July 12, 2005 By TOM PULEO, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

WEST HARTFORD (Connecticut) -- A prominent psychologist who specializes in eating disorders faces criminal charges after she inhaled propellant from whipped cream cans and collapsed on a supermarket floor in May, police say.

Lisa G. Berzins, 49, of 9 Talcott Glen Road in Farmington, was charged in a warrant Friday with possession of a restricted substance, third-degree criminal mischief and creating a public disturbance. She was released on $500 bail for a July 21 appearance in Superior Court in Hartford.

These are only allegations," said Berzins' attorney, Bob Ludgin of Hartford.

"My client is innocent unless convicted. I have confidence that there will be no convictions."

Berzins, who has a practice listed at 91 S. Main St. in West Hartford, has lectured and written widely in the areas of eating disorders, female development, sex roles and self-esteem, according to her speaker's biography listed with the American Psychological Association. Her resume includes listings as director of the eating disorders programs at the Institute of Living in Hartford, and the former Elmcrest Psychiatric Institute in Portland. It was unclear when she held those positions.

On Sunday, May 29, police said, they responded to an afternoon call for medical assistance and found Berzins lying on the floor of the Farmington Avenue Stop & Shop, bleeding from her head.

Conscious and responding slowly to questions, Berzins told police she did not know what had happened, according to the arrest warrant filed in Superior Court in Hartford.Based on a witness account and evidence collected in supermarket aisles, police said, Berzins apparently had been inhaling from three cans of Reddi-wip brand whipped cream. The cans contained nitrous oxide, a restricted substance commonly known as laughing gas, the warrant says.

A high can be obtained, the warrant states, by holding the nozzle upright and activating the can's valve, releasing the propellant to be inhaled.

Nitrous oxide is a colorless, almost odorless gas used mainly as a mild sedative and analgesic in dental treatment.

Based on the evidence, police applied for a warrant charging Berzins.

William Gerrish, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health, said Monday that Berzins has no prior or pending disciplinary actions. She is a licensed psychologist.

In recent years, Berzins' has been featured in newspaper articles and appeared on local and national radio and television shows.

In 1996 the General Assembly approved a new "truth in dieting" law that was proposed by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Berzins. The law requires diet companies to prove their claims of success with scientific data, or remove those claims from their advertising and packaging in Connecticut.

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HOSPITAL PSYCHOLOGIST FIRED (Hartford Courant partial archive)
Published on June 23, 2005, Article 6 of 71 found.

A veteran psychologist at a state-run psychiatric hospital for children has been fired after investigators found he downloaded pornography on his work computer.

Kenneth C. Thunberg, 54, of Deep River, was on paid administrative leave from the Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth while officials from the state Department of Children and Families, which runs the Middletown facility, investigated.

Thunberg counseled children at Riverview for 12 years. Notified of his dismissal last.......

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5 to 4 in the Supreme Court, THE DAY FREEDOM DIED

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