County Releases Provocative Letter from Doctor About JZ Knight

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A letter containing accusations against JZ Knight and Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, including that Ramtha through Knight allegedly told students to drink a concoction containing lye and to take Prozac, was released as part of a public record request last month.

The letter was released to former RSE student Virginia Coverdale as part of a public records request she made to Thurston County.

The letter, dated Nov. 8, 2012, was written by local doctor Brian Keay, who was previously in a relationship with Coverdale, to Dr. Diana Yu, who at that time was the public health officer for Thurston County.

Knight’s company, JZK, Inc., initially filed a lawsuit against Thurston County seeking to prevent them from releasing the letter, arguing that Keay was previously Knight’s physician and that releasing the letter violated HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and that the assertions in the letter aren’t accurate and are not of legitimate public concern.

The letter was released to Coverdale last month after JZK, Inc., voluntarily sought to dismiss the lawsuit.

Keay outlined six concerns in the letter.

The first is over Knight’s alleged alcohol consumption. Keay wrote that Knight is allegedly “proud to drink 5-7 bottles of wine at a single evening sitting” followed by “vomiting and urinary incontinence on stage.”

Keay wrote he’s concerned by RSE students’ devotion to Ramtha, which segways into his next allegation: that Ramtha told his followers to all take Prozac.

“My office and several others had inordinate numbers of requests for this drug,” Keay wrote. “JZ has a nurse practitioner under her wing who likely wrote the majority of prescriptions — so the exact number is a mystery. However, the concern is that hundreds of followers, ill-advised, do not have the wherewithal to question such uneducated advice, but flocked to practitioners with their demands simply on the advice of their ‘spiritual master.’”

Keay expressed concern about a concoction Ramtha allegedly told RSE students to consume in the late 1990s and early 2000s. One of the main items in the concoction was Red Devil brand lye, an industrial lye not intended for consumption, containing “untold industrial contaminants,” according to Keay.

Knight told students to consume “at least a spoonful” of the concoction, while some students “were chugging it” to advance their enlightenment, according to Keay.

Affidavits described students allegedly experiencing health problems as a result of consuming the concoction, including “significant” hair loss.

“JZ confirmed the potential for medical harm when she told them to stop in (2002) because they had ‘a bad attitude, which was making their hair fall out and getting sick,’” Keay wrote.

Keay alleged “numerous people” have refused medical treatment and died because they were influenced by RSE teachings.

“The dictum of the school is that death has little meaning, that a true adept should be able to heal themselves — medical attention is too often sought too late if at all,” Keay wrote.

Keay wrote he had one patient with a “gonadal malignancy,” which he said has an 85 percent cure rate with chemotherapy, and chose alternative treatment methods “only to beg to come back into my care many months later terminally ill.”

He alleges that because Knight “has been placed under inordinate stress, there is a great concern for what she might do.”

“As mentioned, she has regularly taught that death has no significance, this is just one of many stages in life … I have heard students say that if Ramtha told them to drink poison, they would do so.”

Keay asked Yu in the letter what could be done about the perceived situation.

“Ideally, if there were some way to restrain further business pending a thorough investigation, that would be optimal,” he wrote. “I’m not sure what those of us in the community can do, other than to be alert and take every precaution to not have a Jonestown experience here in Thurston County, being ready to jump wherever we can to assist.”

In a letter emailed to the NVN responding to Keay’s letter, RSE claims Keay stated under oath in a deposition that Knight was his patient and stated he had no factual basis for his statements, didn’t investigate their accuracy and relied on information given to him by other patients.

“Dr. Keay’s letter conflates hearsay and rumor,” the letter states. “He makes a diagnosis without an exam and he makes a medical prognosis that — almost a year and a half later — has clearly not come to pass: neither her business nor Ms. Knight’s health have ‘crumbled.’”

RSE’s response contends the letter violated HIPAA and was unprofessional.

“Coupled with his history as Ms. Knight’s medical provider, Dr. Keay’s medical opinions in the letter constitute a breach of HIPAA and the standards of professional conduct of the Washington Department of Health Medical Quality Assurance Commission,” the letter states.

RSE points out Coverdale was the defendant in a lawsuit brought by RSE at the time Keay sent the letter and said she made “unfounded accusations about RSE and Ms. Knight that parallel the accusations Dr. Keay made in his letter.” RSE also claims Coverdale worked in Keay’s office while they were dating and had access to the medical records of his patients, including Knight.

RSE also pointed to an email Thurston County Undersheriff Tim Braniff sent to County Manager Donald Krupp as evidence that Keay’s assertions are unfounded.

“We reviewed the letter you provided addressed to Dr. Yu from Dr. Keay, and there is no current investigation pending on the individual mentioned, and without firsthand knowledge, we cannot continue our investigation,” Braniff wrote to Krupp.

“As one can read in the rest of the Thurston County public record about Dr. Keay’s letter, the Sheriff’s Office reviewed his letter and found it completely lacking in first-hand knowledge,” RSE’s letter states. “There was no investigation because there was nothing to investigate. And a year and a half later, there is still no story; only more hearsay and rumor.”

Letter by Dr. Brian Keay Regarding JZ Knight

Full text of JZK, Inc.'s response:

JZ Knight is a former patient of Dr. Brian Keay. In his deposition in April 2013, Dr. Keay produced a copy of the November 8, 2012 letter for both JZK, Inc. and Virginia Coverdale. He stated under oath that Ms. Knight had been his patient. In reviewing the contents of the letter, he stated he had no factual basis for his statements, and that he failed to investigate their accuracy in any way. Dr. Keay’s letter conflates hearsay and rumor. He makes a diagnosis without an exam and he makes a medical prognosis that – almost a year and a half later – has clearly not come to pass: neither her business nor Ms. Knight’s health have “crumbled.” Coupled with his history as Ms. Knight’s medical provider, Dr. Keay’s medical opinions in the letter constitute a breach of HIPAA and the standards of professional conduct of the Washington Department of Health Medical Quality Assurance Commission.

In his deposition, Dr. Keay testified that he relied on information given to him by other patients. What he failed to disclose in his letter or in his interview with the NVN in December 2012 – but admitted under oath – was that when he wrote the letter he was involved in an intimate relationship with one of those patients, Virginia Coverdale. That’s right, Dr. Keay and Ms. Coverdale were lovers, and he was treating her and prescribing medication for her.

Your readers will certainly know that at the time Dr. Keay wrote his letter, Ms. Coverdale was the defendant in a lawsuit based on her improper disclosure of RSE materials. Also at the time, Ms. Coverdale made unfounded accusations about RSE and Ms. Knight that parallel the accusations Dr. Keay made in his letter. Dr. Keay has also failed to disclose that while he was involved in an intimate relationship with Ms. Coverdale, she was also working in his office and had access to the medical records of his other patients, including Ms. Knight.

Not only is the information in his letter false, but Dr. Keay relied on his position as a medical doctor and purported to be communicating with Dr. Yu as a medical colleague. Yet Dr. Yu has never treated Ms. Knight, and Ms. Knight did not authorize him to communicate with Dr. Yu or to disclose Ms. Knight’s name or any health care information related to Ms. Knight.

As one can read in the rest of the Thurston County public record about Dr. Keay’s letter, the Sheriff’s Office reviewed his letter and found it completely lacking in first-hand knowledge. There was no investigation because there was nothing to investigate. And a year and a half later, there is still no story; only more hearsay and rumor.

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