An Irritating Woman

Susan Diamond learned that it doesn't pay to annoy your kids' psychiatrists, even if you're a doctor

She didn't believe Daniel was being medicated properly at his father's house.

"I thought he required hospitalization," Diamond says. San Soucie opposed that. In self-defense, he began videotaping Daniel as he took his meds.

Feeling that the Depakote wasn't working, Diamond suggested they try lithium. When Blotcky didn't agree, the relationship between the mother and psychiatrist further deteriorated.

A court-appointed psychiatrist believed that Dr. Susan Diamond was perpetrating a bizarre and controversial kind of deception called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
Mark Graham
A court-appointed psychiatrist believed that Dr. Susan Diamond was perpetrating a bizarre and controversial kind of deception called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
"House manager" Michael Lamberti contended that Diamond encouraged her son to act up. Lamberti is now in prison on an unrelated fraud charge.
"House manager" Michael Lamberti contended that Diamond encouraged her son to act up. Lamberti is now in prison on an unrelated fraud charge.

After a dispute over her refusal to pay his fees, Diamond filed a complaint against Blotcky with the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, accusing him of fraudulent billing. (He used that as proof she was vengeful, but Humana Insurance later issued a statement that some of Blotcky's bills included "multiple dates of service directly rendered to [Daniel] that are not supported in the medical records as being rendered." The complaint against Blotcky was dismissed.)

Diamond says she just wanted the best treatment for her son. The physician in her collided with the mother, and she couldn't step back and trust Blotcky, whom she blamed for not persuading San Soucie to agree to joint counseling. She turned to Dr. James Bennett for a second opinion about Daniel's treatment.

In May 2001, Diamond wrote a prescription for lithium in Daniel's Hebrew name and began administering it to him. When the switch was discovered by San Soucie, Diamond faxed Blotcky a letter thanking him for letting her do a therapeutic trial of lithium. Blotcky was furious at the ploy. Though it wasn't illegal or unethical for her to prescribe a drug for her child, it usurped his role as treating physician. Diamond later admitted her action was deceptive.

Blotcky wrote a blistering letter to Diamond and San Soucie, accusing Diamond of "doctor shopping," deceit and manipulation resulting in Pearson's testifying she "was perpetrating a Munchausen-by-Proxy, and I understand why [Pearson] came to believe that." He predicted that if she didn't comply with visitation, she would end up in jail. To Diamond, Blotcky seemed like an advocate for her husband.

The lithium, which Diamond thought had helped, was discontinued. A judge ordered that Daniel could be treated only by Blotcky and his pediatrician. Diamond was ordered to submit to psychological testing. Her foot was on the slippery slope.

So she filed a motion to remove Blotcky as the treating physician, citing "inappropriate behavior as a psychiatrist" and that "Mark Blotcky, M.D. has ceased being an independent observer of the court process and has chosen sides, to the detriment of his ability to work with either party or child."

Blotcky fired back: "[Dr. Diamond] is pathologically driven by her needs to be in control, to express her rage, to get her dependency gratified and to be right in what she perceives to be a competitive disagreement." She speaks "in smoke and mirrors," was driven by her internal conflicts and "draws attention to herself--a Munchausen-by-proxy dynamic."

Blotcky described her as immersed in the supportive Orthodox Jewish community, "a very tight, exclusive, firmly boundaried group, which for many persons promotes healthy living and adaptation with a good deal of structure, support, a strong moral and religious foundation. However, Dr. Diamond uses it almost as if it were a cult."

He recommended that Daniel and his siblings live with San Soucie and that visitation with Diamond be limited and supervised in order to limit her "psychonoxious" influence on the children and her "demeaning and villainizing [of their] father."

The judge ordered the parents to attend joint counseling to work out ways to communicate. It ended miserably after six sessions. Sharp words were exchanged over money, and while Diamond was willing to continue, San Soucie wasn't. From now on, he insisted, all their communications would be via fax.

In April 2002, they went to trial. One therapist, Dr. Linda Threats, testified that Diamond had made a lot of progress in therapy dealing with her anger. She described a visit to Diamond's home to observe her with the children. She called it "full of energy" and "quite a lively home." The children were gracious and open. They played freely, laughed and smiled. "She's very attentive, very nurturing," Threats testified. "She listened to them. She played, she cuddled." When Daniel clamored for attention or acted up, she was able to set limits.

But most of the testimony by Blotcky and others was unrelentingly negative about Diamond. The judge ordered that San Soucie get custody of all the children. She was prohibited from making any medical decisions except in an emergency. Instead of receiving child support each month, she was now paying San Soucie child support.

That summer, Diamond filed a lawsuit against her ex-husband. She alleged that during divorce proceedings, San Soucie had not adequately disclosed a $1.24 million loan he'd made to a company called Crudgington Machine Tools while they were married and another loan after he filed for divorce. Temporary orders in the divorce case forbade either spouse from taking on assets or liabilities, except for personal expenses.

She also filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against her divorce lawyer at the time, Kevin Fuller, for failing to do sufficient discovery. Both cases were settled out of court. The lawsuits added to the perception that whenever Diamond didn't get her way, she either sued or filed a complaint. It didn't matter if her beefs were legitimate. Diamond had thoroughly alienated not only Blotcky but Pat Keane, the attorney ad litem for the children, who Diamond felt consistently sided with San Soucie. (Keane declined to comment on the case.)

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help