Physician associated with secretive group accused of branding women resigns from New York hospital

A physician affiliated with a secretive group resigned from Albany, N.Y.-based St. Peter's Hospital last week following recent reports he allegedly harmed several women as part of an "experiment," according to The New York Times.

Brandon Porter, MD, resigned from his position at the hospital last week following a report from The New York Times. The report claimed Dr. Porter conducted a "study" as part of his involvement with the organization Nxivm in which several women were shown violent film clips. One of the clips included a violent rape scene from the film The Accused followed by "what appeared to be footage from an actual mass murder: a woman being decapitated and dismembered, seemingly by members of a drug cartel," according to a complaint Jennifer Kobelt filed with the New York State Department of Health Office of Professional Conduct dated Aug. 16 and obtained by the Times Union.

According to the complaint, neither Dr. Porter nor his assistant told Ms. Kobelt what the so-called study was for or what to expect. Ms. Kobelt said she was not made to sign any documents indicating she consented to participate in the study and had previously been informed of the study or its purpose, according to the Times Union.

Ms. Kobelt said in the complaint the women involved with Nxivm "often received medical care from [Dr.] Porter when they were sick with the flu or other illnesses," and claimed Dr. Porter had "been associated with Nxivm for many years," according to the Times Union.

Nxivm is a "professional business providing educational tools, coaching and trainings to corporations and people from all walks of life," according to a statement on the organization website.

In a separate complaint filed with the state health department, Sarah Edmondson, who was associated with Nxivm for 12 years until June, said roughly 20 women were branded with the initials of the organization's founders via a cauterizing device and that their reactions were filmed. Ms. Edmondson alleged the branding was conducted by Danielle Roberts, DO, who serves as a physician for the organization and previously worked at St. Peter's Hospital via an employment agency from 2012 to 2015, the Times Union reports.

In two letters sent in July and September to Ms. Edmondson and Ms. Kobelt, respectively, and obtained by The New York Times, DOH officials said they declined to take action on the complaints outlined by both women because the physicians' alleged actions did not meet the agency's standards of "medical misconduct."

However, following recent news reports outlining the alleged actions of the society, a spokesperson for Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the DOH will conduct a review of the allegations to determine if state officials should pursue the complaints, The New York Times reports.

In a statement on its website, Nxivm said, "A media outlet unfoundedly, and incorrectly, linked NXIVM corporation, its founder and its related companies, with a social group. The allegations relayed in the story are built upon sources, some of which are under criminal investigation or already indicted, who act as a coordinated group. This story might be a criminal product of criminal minds who, in the end, are also hurting the victims of the story … NXIVM was not able to participate in this story because it painfully held true to the due process of our free world justice system."

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to St. Peter's Hospital for comment and will update the article as more information becomes available.


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