The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Doctor Accused in Son’s Death Has History of Mental Health Issues

Here is an article that again points out how the media and the legal system view the mentally ill.  I can’t quite figure out if this article says that because he had been previously treated for depression, then it was more understandable that something so horrific could happen; or that this happened because the man is a mental patient?

What no one seems to get is that being treated for major depression in no way presupposes that a person will commit an act of homicide.  Major depression is an illness.  You can be treated for it and get better.  True, some people need to be treated for long periods, but most people have situational depression that goes away when the situation improves.

That this happened to an innocent child is unbearable.  However, until the investigation is completed, we will not know what really was happening that day. Could this simply be an aberrant act of aggression gone bad?

My heart goes out to this family and to this community.  The scars of this type of event take a long time to heal.  That little boy will be sorely missed by his friends and family.


Police investigate a homicide Monday morning in the 1700 block of Elmhurst in Nichols Hills.Enlarge this picturePolice investigate a homicide Monday morning in the 1700 block of Elmhurst in Nichols Hills.
Tommy Wolf was a well liked 3rd grade student at Christ the King Catholic School and an active member of Boy Scouts.Enlarge this pictureTommy Wolf was a well liked 3rd grade student at Christ the King Catholic School and an active member of Boy Scouts.

Staff and Wire Reports

NICHOLS HILLS, Oklahoma — A Nichols Hills doctor is in jail, accused of killing his 9-year-old son.

Dr. Stephen Wolf, 51, is being held without bail on a first-degree murder complaint at the Oklahoma County Jail, according to jail records.

Nichols Hills Police Chief Richard Mask said officers were called to Wolf’s home in the 1700 block of Elmhurst at about 4 a.m. Monday. Officers found Wolf’s son, Tommy Wolf, wounded. The 9-year-old boy was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Mask said Dr. Wolf was inside the home with a weapon and it appeared there had been some kind of altercation. Officers disarmed Wolf and took him into custody.

Wolf’s wife, Mary, was also in the home. A neighbor called 911 after Mary Wolf banged on their door seeking help. Mary Wolf also placed two 911 calls from her home, police said.

Mary Wolf sustained defensive non-life threatening wounds, was taken to INTEGRIS Baptist Hospital and released, Chief Mask said.

Family and friends say Tommy was never without a smile. He was a well liked 3rd grade student at Christ the King Catholic School and an active member of Boy Scouts. Those close to the Wolf family say words cannot describe the loss.

“I can’t perceive it happening anywhere, anytime, but it does and Nichols Hills is not that much different from any other community,” Mask said. “I know that sounds strange, but people are people and everyone has their problems.”

Counselors are on hand at Christ The King where Tommy attended school. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

As police and the community search for answers, new details into Dr. Wolf’s past may shed light.

Wolf graduated from OU in 1988 and successfully went on to residency programs. The recommendation letters are glowing, especially when it comes to his clinical skills and personality. One reads, “No matter how tired or how stressed, Stephen always displayed an excellent sense of humor and a balanced perspective on life in general.”

But in order to get a license in Oklahoma, Wolf had to explain why he had been hospitalized. In a 1991 letter to the board he wrote, “I was hospitalized for major depression at St. Anthony’s Hospital.”

Read Dr. Wolf’s letter describing his psychotherapy for his application for licensure in Oklahoma.

Two board members would not vote “yes” on his application until he established a relationship with a psychiatrist in town. Wolf’s therapist wrote to the board in 1991 saying, “Stephen has completed his psychotherapy. I certainly see no reason to be concerned about him at all from a psychological point of view,” though he did suggest check-ups every three months.

Read the letter from Dr. Wolf’s psychotherapist to Oklahoma State Medical Board Members.

Fast forward five years to a license renewal. Again, a letter from Wolf explains a 1996 hospitalization. Wolf wrote “I was hospitalized for three days at St. Anthony’s Hospital for acute depression. I suffered this as a result of all the stress in my busy practice of internal medicine and all the demands in making the final arrangements for my marriage.”

Read the second letter from Dr. Wolf about having been hospitalized to the Oklahoma State Medical Board.

In recent years, Wolf has practiced at St. Anthony’s North, and there are no other bouts with depression listed in his files.

Those at the medical board say they never received any complaints about the doctor. If convicted, he will lose his license immediately.

More recently Dr. Wolf settled a medical negligence lawsuit. Dr. Wolf’s attorney would not go on camera, but did say Dr. Wolf did not show any signs of stress from the lawsuit and does not believe it had anything to do with Monday’s tragedy.

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November 22, 2009 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. woot, thankyou! I finally came to a site where the webmaster knows what they’re talking about. Do you know how many results are in Google when I search.. too many! It’s so annoying having to go from page after page after page, wasting my day away with thousands of people just copying eachother’s articles… bah. Anyway, thankyou very much for the info anyway, much appreciated.

    Comment by 床墊 | September 28, 2010 | Reply

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