Dr. Leon Stern Dr. Leon Stern, a psychiatrist who refused to treat me Brooklyn New York
I have had severe debilitating OCD since age 20. Whatever path I walked on, I had to walk back the same path. I literally had to step on the exact same spots I stepped on walking the path. If I stepped on the wrong spot even slightly I would have to walk back and forth a certain number of times. I would spend hours walking back and forth in the same place. If it takes you 15 minutes to get home it would take me 2 hours to get home, all because I had to walk back and forth. When I was 20 I was late to a psychotherapy appointment because I went back to the beach boardwalk to take a different exit.
I wanted out of that hell. So I searched for the nearest psychiatrist near my home and found the Medical and Mental Arts PC. I googled this place and google earth showed a picture of a beautiful new condo. I knew the condo was built on that street. I couldn't find the doctors name so I assumed there was multiple psychiatrists in that practice. On Friday April 21, I made an appointment. The next available appointment was on Monday April 24. They were literally available all day, so I was excited to finally be getting help.
When I got there I saw this place wasn’t located in the beautiful condo, but in an old commercial space next door to it. There are a few doctors in that space, but Dr. Leon stern is the main doctor and his name is in the awning. I brought my mom along because I was nervous and for insurance reasons. I filled out a questionnaire. They said the Dr. charges $150 for all new patients so my mom went home and got $150. Office staff said I had to take a urinalysis and I asked why since I was there for OCD. Then I saw the Dr. Leon Stern. I told him I had OCD and told him my symptoms, “such as walking back and forth, repeating certain phrases, counting steps, etc.” He asks as bunch of questions about my history and does the mental status exam, such as who is the president, math problems, what would you do, etc. He asks me checklist questions about my OCD which I could only answer “yes” or “no” such as “do you wash hands” “do you arrange objects” “do you have religious obsessions”?. I answered “no” to many of the questions because they didn’t match my symptoms, but I said yes to some of the questions. Dr. Stern continues to ask about my history then asks to speak to my mom. I say no and he says he just wants to ask her questions. He asks about history such as marriage, pregnancy, when I was a young child, etc. Then my mom starts complaining about me sleeping all day, how my dad yelled because of something I did last night, etc. I told her to be quiet but Dr. Stern insists I let her speak. Dr. Stern asks how old am I and I answer 21. Dr. Stern thought at 21 I should be independent from my parents. After talking with my mother he suggested a residential facility. He said they have a schedule where I have to wake up a certain time, go outside a certain time, etc. so I won’t be allowed to sleep all day. Then Dr. Stern said a residential facility might not admit me because I am high functioning and suggested a supported apartment. He asked me what I want to be and we started talking about my career plans. He says to call Ohel which offers a supported apartment and employment training. He said he isn’t going to prescribe medication as he felt it wasn’t needed. I asked “what are you going to do about the OCD?” and he answers with the dismissive gesture that he will treat the OCD. He doesn’t make a follow up appointment. I then did the urinalysis and handed office staff the cup. Then I was walking back and forth in and out of the bathroom, touching things until it felt right. I asked the office staff when is the next appointment and they said I can always call to schedule an appointment. I didn’t know when to schedule the next appointment. After all they have a high vacancy. I left the appointment very angry.
A month later I began looking for another psychiatrist. I found Dr. Evgeny Fink, who is board certified, has many great reviews, stated in his profile he treats OCD. He was on ZocDoc but the next available appointment was one month away. So I went to my primary care physician.
I told him “I am here for OCD If I walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk I have to walk back. I avoid stepping on manhole covers.” He says they cannot treat OCD but can refer me to professionals who will. Then he asks me if I am taking medication for this. I answer no and he asks why am I not taking medication and I told him I already went to a psychiatrist and he thought I didn’t need medication. Doc says “That’s not true. You do need medication.” The doctor says “I will refer you to providers where you don’t have to wait a month.” He asked what’s the name of the doc who refused to prescribe meds. I answered and he says “forget about him”.
Ultimately I ended up going to Dr. Evgeny Fink. He did an assessment of my OCD and prescribed Prozac. I took it and I instantly saw some improvement. After some time and dose increases, I was able to function again.
Luckily I never went back to Dr. Stern. I read reviews of him online. One of them said I had a situation involving medication that he had written incorrectly, he went off on me. He began chastising me and telling me that I am not his only patient, and that I cannot expect special treatment, like him returning my call. The only reason I am going back is because they have a lot of availability (I wonder why), and I need my meds.
Yes they do have a lot of availability. That is because no one goes to this doctor. That is because this doctor sucks. I wonder what Dr. Stern does with all that free time? Play on the computer.