From: FRANK DORRITIE
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:03 PM
Subject: a lost Jasper
To the chase:
The list of credibly accused clergy released this AM put me in mind of the sad story of the late Peter Fazio, and I began to search for recent postings about him. I came across a mention in your Jasper Jottings (2010) wherein you speculate as to whether he had a MC connection.
The answer is yes. He attended from ’64 to ’66, was a member of APO, and one of the most brilliant people I ever met. He was also very eccentric, in a “Robin Williams” sort of way, and his Manhattan friends were disappointed that he did not return after Sophomore year. He had mentioned a desire to hop a freight with his guitar and see the world. We thought perhaps he had.
A few of us looked for him throughout the years, to no avail since he was definitely off the radar. Eventually I discovered why. The article you found explains some of it. A few years back, I found the rest, which involved a priest abusing him at Bergen Catholic, before any of us knew him.
Pete Fazio was a real guy, a sort of “Bob Dylan-meets-Steven Hawking”. He was my friend, and he was a Jasper.I just thought you might like to know.
Frank Dorritie ’68
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Dorritie, Frank [MC1968]
[JR: Thanks for completing the story. It still makes me sad to read how badly he was treated.]
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MFOUND: Sad tale with an uncertain MC connection
Friday, April 2, 2010
The greatest story ever told (about mental illness)
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An Unnecessary Death
The sad saga of a schizophrenic 51-year-old named Peter Fazio, a long-term patient at Manhattan Psychiatric Center, illustrates the consequences of the state’s relentless push to discharge. Before his schizophrenia hit, in the 1960’s, Fazio was an A student at Bergen Catholic in suburban New Jersey and won a full scholarship to Manhattan College. After the illness, he was wild. He was estranged from his family, at one point holding his mother hostage for five days before police arrested him. He lived in Bowery flophouses until he murdered another resident, suffocating the victim by shoving a sock into his mouth. At the time, the police were struck by how much other flophouse residents despised Fazio.
In jail, he stopped eating and was kept alive by a feeding tube. At Attica prison, he tried hanging himself in 1986. For the next two years, he later told a therapist, he planned how he would kill himself after his prison discharge. In May 1988, two days after that release, he slit his chest open with a scalpel, then stuck a boning knife into his heart. Miraculously, he lived, and was sent to Manhattan Psychiatric, where he spent the next 10 years. While still a troubled patient — records describe him as ‘’sadistic” and ”hostile” to fellow patients, as repeatedly pacing the halls, paranoid and arrogant — for the first time, he found a niche. He relished waking early to read the newspaper, sold bread from a little cart, got along with staff members and enjoyed grounds privileges.
When discharge was discussed, he commented, ”There’s nothing more to enjoy outside.” When pressed, he repeatedly threatened suicide. A social worker’s note describes a talk in January 1997 about discharge: ”I asked about suicide. He said, ‘Yeah, I’d basically go that route.”’
Hospital officials were well aware that Fazio had repeatedly threatened suicide if released. ”When discharge planning is discussed,” says a May 1997 note, ”Fazio retreats.” The note continues: ”I will hurt myself.’ Alert: He is a serious risk.”
In the months leading to his final night at the hospital, July 26, 1998, Fazio ”complained he and other patients are being pushed by the administrattion to be discharged whether they are ready or not,” according to records. During therapy he asked, ”Is the reason they’re pushing discharge now that they want to save money?”
For a few months, the record indicates, he was more positive about leaving, but by spring 1998, as the staff pressed, he is described as ”depressed” and ”not very happy or ready to talk about discharge.” He worried that people in the community would know he was a murderer. In May, he told a case manager that twice before at the hospital he had tried suicide but had mentioned it to no one. Still the staff pressed, and on June 3 a discharge team, sent to the hospital by the state to lower the census, indicated that Fazio was ready to go.
On July 6, he was taken to visit a community residence, though he refused a placement there. On July 12, an aide noted his ”regression” and ”isolation,” and a July 22 note mentioned his ambivalence and fear. On July 25, his next to last night at Manhattan Psychiatric, he stayed in his room at dinnertime, according to a hospital worker I interviewed: ”He says, ‘I’m being discharged, I really don’t want to leave.’ He was very depressed.”
The next evening, Fazio again did not go to dinner, but this time was found in the bathroom, ”in a pool of blood,” a final hospital note says. ”Body was cold to the touch.” Using a razor, he had cut a wedge out of his neck, piercing his jugular.
The story has an addendum. The state’s quality-care commission did a brief report on Fazio’s suicide, finding ”no deficiencies” by the hospital. The report said, ”We found no evidence that Mr. Fazio had threatened suicide since mid-1996” (though in Fazio’s hospital notes I count seven suicide threats in 1997 alone). The report found ”nothing significantly unusual in the life of Mr. Fazio in the weeks or days prior to his death” and concluded that Fazio’s death was ”unpredictable, thus not preventable.”
The report offered no theory as to why Fazio did kill himself. However, it did mention that two hospital workers who had talked to the media were disciplined for violating the confidentiality of the dead man.
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[JR: Unsure of the Jasper connection. Did he go? Is it even “our” MC? It reenforces my meme “gooferment sucks”! “No Deficiencies”? Are they <expletive deleted> kidding me? “barbara streisand”!]
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* Posted on: Fri, Apr 2 2010 12:54 PM
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