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                         Copyright 1997 Star Tribune
                                  Star Tribune

                        February 8, 1997, Metro Edition

SECTION: News; Pg. 1B

LENGTH: 369 words

HEADLINE: Board suspends license of psychiatrist Diane Humenansky

BYLINE: Paul Gustafson; Staff Writer

    The State Board of Medical Practice has suspended indefinitely the
medical license of St. Paul psychiatrist Diane Humenansky, who has
been successfully sued by several former patients who claim she
planted false memories of abuse.

    Humenansky, 61, must enter into psychotherapy with a board-
approved professional, submit to a mental health evaluation to
determine her fitness to practice medicine safely and cannot seek
reinstatement of her medical license for at least three years, the
board ruled. The St. Paul psychiatrist has been the subject of 20
complaints to the Medical Practice Board, which began investigating
allegations against her in 1992. Since then 10 former patients have
sued her, alleging that they and their families were injured by
Humenansky's flawed diagnoses and treatment. Many of the former
patients complained that she incorrectly diagnosed multiple
personality disorder and told them they must have been repeatedly
sexually abused by relatives.

    A Ramsey County jury awarded former patient Vynnette Hamanne and
her family more than $ 2.6 million in 1995. Elizabeth Carlson and her
family were awarded $ 2.3 million in damages by a separate Ramsey
County jury in January 1996. In the past year, insurance companies
have reached out-of-court settlements for undisclosed amounts of money
with seven other patients.

    Phil Villaume, an attorney representing Humenansky, said Friday
that the license suspension is "a fair resolution" of the complaints
against her.

    "She was doing some of the most difficult work a psychotherapist
can do, working with multiple-personality-disorder patients . . . and
she did it with great compassion," he said.

    During the board's investigation of complaints against her and in
her trial testimony, Humenansky steadfastly denied that she had done
anything wrong. In a letter to a board committee dated Oct. 22, 1996,
she blamed the complaints and lawsuits on the "perpetrators of
childhood sexual abuse." In November, however, Humenansky pleaded no
contest to the Medical Practice Board's allegations that she had
demonstrated professional incompetence and had engaged in
unprofessional conduct.

Copyright 1997 Star Tribune. Republished here with the permission of the Star Tribune. No further republication or redistribution permitted without the express written consent of the Star Tribune.

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