New York psychiatrist Tomasz W. Kowacz charged by medical board with negligence, moral unfitness and more

September 7, 2009

The New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct issued a Statement of Charges against psychiatrist TOMASZ W. KOWACZ.  The charges listed in the document are negligence on more than one occasion, patient abandonment, moral unfitness and failure to maintain records.  Specifically, the document states that on June 18 and 19, 2008, at the Psychiatric Emergency Department at Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn, Kowacz failed to enter an “individualized order for an observation level” (i.e., an order to the nursing staff stating the frequency with which patients are to be observed) regarding “Patient A,” who was characterized in the document as “actively psychotic…a danger to herself an others.”   The document further states that “Approximately 19 hours after [Kowacz] evaluated Patient A, the patient was still in the emergency department…. At that time, [Kowacz] entered the emergency department waiting area and looked directly at Patient A, who was lying face down on the floor in an unnatural posture.  Rather than immediately attending to Patient A, [Kowacz] abruptly left the waiting room, failing to summon help…. [Kowacz] abandoned Patient A.”  What the document does not state is that the date, location and events described therein are coincident with events that culminated in the death of 49-year-old Esmin Green in the waiting area of the Kings County Medical Center psychiatric emergency department.  The story was reported globally as to how Kings County Hospital personnel ignored Ms. Green after she had toppled from her waiting room chair and struggled and convulsed on the floor for an extended period, noticed but ignored by the hospital staff until after she was dead.  The entire occurrence was captured on the hospital’s closed circuit videotape and broadcast widely. In June 2009, news reported that several Kings County Hospital Center doctors and nurses were criminally charged in Green’s death.

(Statement of Charges, In the Matter of Tomacz Wojciech Kowacz, M.D., license no. 214508, New York State Department of Health State Board for Professional Medical Conduct, September 7, 2009.)


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