California psychiatrist Michael J. Menaster, "long history of emotional and behavioral problems," placed on three years probation

September 21, 2009

The California Medical Board revoked psychiatrist MICHAEL J. MENASTER’s license.  Revocation was stayed and he was placed on three years probation with conditions.  Menaster’s history of Board discipline goes back to May 1999, when he was arrested for weapons possession, including carrying a loaded .40 caliber semi-automatic weapon in his pants pocket.  Other weapons, including a loaded AK-47 rifle, as well as numerous packages of psychotropic drugs, including the antidepressants Prozac and Zoloft, were found in his possession.  He pled guilty and was sentenced to five years probation.  The Board also had concerns of possible incompetence relative to his treatment of two patients.  An ensuing psychiatric examination revealed that Menaster slept with two guns and knife under his pillow and carried a concealed weapon during counseling sessions with patients, despite having been denied a concealed use permit.  The Board subsequently placed Menaster on probation for five years.  Despite receiving weekly psychotherapy as a condition of his probation, in March 2006, he resigned from a position as a medical consultant for the California Department of Social Services (DSS)—a position he held for only four months—to avoid being fired for conduct considered inappropriate and disruptive.  This behavior included the use of profanity in the office, suggestive comments to female employees and culminated with a response to noise and foot traffic near his work area in which he, while on the phone to his union representative, let out “a very loud and disturbingly frightful scream” (which cause the union representative enough concern that she reported it to Menaster’s DSS supervisor).  Numerous DSS attempts to correct his behavior were unsuccessful.  As a result of events at the DSS, Menaster came again under Board scrutiny.  Following its investigation, the Board determined: “It is undisputed [Menaster] has a long history of emotional and behavioral problems….  It is determined that he has failed to establish that his progress is sufficient to justify permitting him to engage in the unsupervised practice of psychiatry.”

(Decision After Nonadoption, In the Matter of the Accusation Against Michael John Menaster, M.D., Physician and Surgeon’s Certificate No. G-72112, MBC No.: 03-2006-179645, Before the Medical Board of California Department of Consumer Affairs, August 20, 2009.)


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