Family of Woman Who Killed Self Sues Psychologist

Paragraph 14 reads:  "After beginning treatment at Compass, her family said, recovery seemed within reach. Finzi began taking the antidepressant Zoloft."

Paragraph 19 reads:  "''He regularly brought Rachel to his home in order to supply her with marijuana and prescription drugs, including Wellbutrin, Adderall, Xanax, Percocet, oxycodone and Loracets, the suit says. '`These drugs were not part of her psychological treatment and were provided for recreational purposes only.'''

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami_dade/story/442945.html


NORTH MIAMI-DADE

Family sues psychologist over daughter's overdose

The family of Rachel Finzi, who was dating her psychologist, announced it is suing the doctor for his alleged role in her overdose death.

Posted on Tue, Mar. 04, 2008

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BY DAVID OVALLE

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Monday's announcement came six days after Adam Feder, 40, was charged by police with manslaughter in the death of former patient and lover Rachel Finzi, 20.


The family of an aspiring model who overdosed and died in her North Miami-Dade psychologist's apartment is suing the doctor, calling him “negligent and reckless.''

Monday's announcement came six days after Adam Feder, 40, was charged by police with manslaughter in the death of former patient and lover Rachel Finzi, 20.

Miami-Dade County police say she died on May 24, 2006, after swallowing more than 100 times the safe dosage of the painkiller oxycodone at Feder's apartment.

''For me, she was a beautiful rose snatched too early,'' mother Esther Finzi, 58, of Lauderhill, said at a news conference.

Feder, who specialized in treating substance abusers, is also charged with trafficking in oxycodone and seven counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance.

Police and prosecutors say he used other doctors' prescription pads to illegally obtain oxycodone. Clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medicine.

''I really don't have a good answer to that,'' he told Miami-Dade detectives when asked about the fraudulent prescriptions, according to a police report.

Feder did not return a phone call seeking comment.

PAST ARRESTS

The wrongful-death lawsuit, filed by Coral Gables attorney David Durkee, also names Compass Health Systems, where Feder met Finzi in 2004.

The suit points out Feder's past arrests — including two marijuana possession charges — as evidence Compass should have never hired the doctor.

Compass' attorney, Jonathan Abel, did not return a phone call from The Miami Herald.

Finzi, then an 18-year-old senior at Nova High in Davie, went to Compass for treatment after a car accident left her former boyfriend in a coma, according to her family.

''She rushed to the hospital with her sister. She was crying, making herself sick. Very depressing. She would bring flowers and wait there day after day for him to wake up,'' Esther Finzi said.

After beginning treatment at Compass, her family said, recovery seemed within reach. Finzi began taking the antidepressant Zoloft.

She went on with her life, waiting tables at the Roundup Country Western Club in Davie and starting classes at Broward Community College with hopes of studying law. She also dabbled in modeling.

But she and Feder had begun a sexual relationship, a violation of psychologists' ethics, said attorney Durkee.

Her parents objected to the relationship, though noting their daughter had a stubborn streak.

According to the lawsuit, Feder took advantage of an “insecure and vulnerable teenager, with low self-esteem.''

''He regularly brought Rachel to his home in order to supply her with marijuana and prescription drugs, including Wellbutrin, Adderall, Xanax, Percocet, oxycodone and Loracets,'' the suit says. “These drugs were not part of her psychological treatment and were provided for recreational purposes only.''

Finzi showed ''no signs of being suicidal'' up until her death, the lawsuit says.

On the morning of May 23, she went to his apartment, where he tried breaking off their relationship and she swallowed the oxycodone.

DRAWN-OUT DEATH

According to an arrest report, she writhed for 24 hours inside his apartment while Feder did little.

''He did check on Ms. Finzi's well-being by, in his words, nudging her to move while sleeping,'' Miami-Dade Detective Larry Belyeu wrote in his arrest report.

On Monday, relatives remembered Finzi as a sensitive animal lover. As a child, she rescued a turtle from the road. She begged her father, Richard Finzi, now 60 and a recently retired Broward sheriff's deputy, to rush the turtle to a clinic.

About four years ago, Finzi worked an after-school job at Precious Puppies in Lauderhill.

''She was one of the sweetest girls I've ever met in my life,'' said manager Amber Carroll. “She was young. She loved to get out with her friends, but she also loved the puppies. That's what kept her there.''