State Revokes Medical License of Psychiatrist Mark Germine

June 28, 2013

On June 28, 2013, the Medical Board of California revoked the license of psychiatrist Mark Germine.

The Board’s document states that police stopped Germine on the morning of April 23, 2009 because he was observed on several occasions to be drifting half-way into an adjacent lane, posing a threat to public safety.

The office who made the stop reported that Germine appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and noticed the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Upon arriving at the scene, the CHP observed Germine leaning against the right rear quarter of his vehicle with slumped shoulders, staring at the ground in front of him.

In providing the CHP his license, his movements were slow and deliberate, and his eyes were noted to be red and watery. When asked if he were taking any medications or drugs, he named two medications that he said he was taking for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He denied taking any other medications and admitted swerving a little while he was driving.

However, the results of the field sobriety test that CHP administered was consistent with that of a person under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. CHP took him into custody. A blood test done at the time showed that that Germine tested positive for the antidepressants mirtazapine and paroxetine (the generic names for Remeron and Paxil, respectively), and clonazepam (the generic name for the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin).

The CHP reported Germine’s arrest to the Medical Board of California. On March 23, 2010, the Board opened an investigation.

The same day, Germine provided the Board’s investigator with a summary of events. He additionally stated that he suffered from major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and insomnia, yet stated that all of these issues were well-controlled with no side effects to impair his practice.

Also on March 23rd, Germine wrote an email to then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in which he enumerated his accomplishments, explained his recent DUI incident and complained that the Board Senior Investigator M. had “endangered his employment in an unreasonable manner.”

On July 26, 2010, in an interview with Investigator M., when asked if he were competent to drive on the day of his arrest, Germine stated that at the time, he was having an unpredictable episode of sleepiness.

On July 30, 2010, Germine sent an email to a local attorney and the Sacramento Bee, complaining about Investigator M.

On August 10, 2010, Germine wrote a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger restating his views regarding Investigator M., and accusing the investigator of “questioning in such a manner as to cause a relapse in my traumatic signs and symptoms.”

The next day, he wrote to then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown, Jr. complaining about the Medical Board, Investigator M., and “discrimination on the basis of mental illness….”

From July 28 until August 11, 2010, Germine sent numerous emails to Investigator M. and/or the Board’s Executive Director, accusing M. of conducting a mental exam, engaging in “smooth psychopathy,” having mob connections, engaging in criminal conduct, and practicing medicine without a license.

On September 19th, Germine wrote to the Chair of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors stating the following:

“for personal health reasons, as I am in eminent [sic] danger as a result of Tarasoff warning on L.R., who Administration is, implicitly, indirectly, or explicit [sic], directly, courting as a potential witness against me.” [This is implying a cover-up on a threat to his life. “Tarasoff” refers to a California court ruling which says that mental health professionals have a duty to warn people who are being threatened with bodily harm by a patient].

Germine’s communication continued: “The following are my conditions: preservation of uninterrupted beneits, assurmance of retirement income, payment of alimony to my ex-wife, victim witness status, and subsequent paid-for relocation by expatriation with change of name for protection back to my birth name, Mark Germinaro, and surrender of medical license for protection of my old/new name becoming part of the public record. . . I will become no on, whereabouts unknown, with no internet or other identifiable sources including life, education, publications, achievements, editorships(3)—everything. . . The County can get off at least expense and embarrassment only if it meets these requests. They may seem excessive requests or demands, but they are nothing compared to what you would otherwise by [sic] looking at, should you fail to very quickly, and in writing, assume that my requests are met. If you cannot see this as an urgent necessity, you will be very foolish.”

From September 21 through September 29, Germine sent his former employer multiple erratic emails notifying them athat he had “a sudden and incapacitating medical illness,” accused his colleague of attempting to perform a 5150 (California law regarding involuntary psychiatric detention) hold on him, notified them that he was retiring, and notified them that he was surrendering his medical license.

On January 23, 2011, Germine wrote to the Board, stating that he had not practiced psychiatry since September 19, 2010, and surrendered his license due to “inability to continue practice due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which has generalized to fear of patients.” His letter also stated:

“If you must, take this letter as surrender of my license, but the term must be qualified in any publication as ‘License Surrendered due to Retirement.” It had nothing to do with your investigations. . . I now find returning to California traumatic and will in no case do so. I also find Mr. M. traumatizing. He has practiced without a license and done great harm, and your Agency has done nothing. I have developed a severe loss of concentration. . . This loss of concentration is part of a progressive Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”

During this period, Germine evidently came under investigation by the Medical Board of the state of Pennsylvania (where he was also licensed), though the Pennsylvania Board's documents do not make reference to matters addressed in the California Board's document. Rather, the Pennsylvania Board's document states that on October 28, 2011, Germine was involutarily committed to Gnaden Huetten Hospital in Lehighton, PA following a suicide attempt in which he attempted to light himself on fire after having poured three-quarters of the contents of a ten-gallon container of gasoline over himself. He remained hospitalized at Gnaden Huetten until November 2nd, when he was transferred to Palmerton Hospital (also in Lehighton), where he received three courses of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). He underwent further ECT as an outpatient on November 24.

Germine voluntarily admitted himself to Palmerton on December 3rd, due to suicidabl ideation. While there, he received several more courses of ECT.

On December 19, 2011, Germine was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, among other things.

These incidents formed the basis of the Pennsylvania Board's investigation. In September 2012, the Board served Germine with its Order, giving him an opportunity to respond to the charges and request a hearing. He never did. 

The Pennsylvania Board suspended Germine's license indefinitely on October 21, 2012. 

In December 2011, the California Board ordered Germine to undergo a psychiatric examination. The result was that he was found unable to practice medicine safely.

In March 2012, the Board served Germine with a copy of its Accusation, as well as a Notice of Defense, Request for Discovery and other information. This was to enable Germine to file within 15 days a defense and request a hearing.

As he did in Pennsylvania, Germine never responded to the California Board, which put him in default.

The California Board thus revoked his license.

Source: Accusation and Default Decision and Order in the Matter of the Accusation Against Mark Germine, M.D., Physician’s & Surgeon’s Certificate No. G 73538, Case No. 02-2009-199109, Medical Board of California, Department of Consumer Affairs, March 13, 2012 and Final Adjudication and Order, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs v. Mark Germine, M.D., Docket No. 1604-49-12, File No. 12-49-07019, February 13, 2013.

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