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Doctor Dad of New 'RHONY' Star Rebecca Minkoff Misdiagnosed Patient Who Later Committed Suicide, Ignored Her Mental Health Condition: Lawsuit

dad rhony rebecca minkoff patient suicide mental health lawsuit
Source: MEGA;WhitneyJMills@Instagram

The medical doctor and father of new "Real Housewives of New York City" star Rebecca Minkoff is hiding a deadly secret.

Jun. 24 2024, Published 11:07 a.m. ET

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The medical doctor and father of new Real Housewives of New York City star Rebecca Minkoff, the world-famous fashion designer, is hiding a deadly secret, RadarOnline.com has learned

Dr. David Minkoff, a Florida-based high-ranking Scientologist, has been accused of medical malpractice in the suicide death of Whitney Mills two years ago.

Whitney — another top Scientologist who was suffering from severe depression and anxiety — was misdiagnosed with cancer and Lyme Disease, according to her family, who last week filed a sensational lawsuit against the Church of Scientology.

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dad rhony rebecca minkoff patient suicide mental health lawsuit
Source: MEGA

Dr. David Minkoff, a Florida-based high-ranking Scientologist, is the father of upcoming Real Housewives of New York City star and fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff.

They said Whitney was “extorted” for a series of “alternative treatments of little to no utility” at a cost of $20,000, according to court documents reviewed by RadarOnline.com.

On May 12, 2022, Whitney "attempted to set herself on fire before inflicting herself with a gunshot wound," the lawsuit filed in Florida said.

The Mills' family said she took her life because she was struggling with a mental illness that was not being treated at the time because Scientology teachings expressly don’t allow that.

"The Scientology Defendants brainwashed her into believing that mental health professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists, and related medical treatments, such as antidepressants and other prescription drugs, were unnecessary and abhorrent," the filing alleged.

"Upon learning of her problems, the Scientology Defendants took control of Mills’ medical care, thus foreclosing her from obtaining the exact treatment she needed, and sending her to an alternative medicine doctor who misdiagnosed her with cancer and Lyme Disease and extorted her for a series of alternative treatments of little to no utility for a person suffering from severe depression and anxiety.”

Whitney had been suffering from chronic daily debilitating headaches, hallucinations, depression, and lethargy, and even reported that her skin felt like it was on fire prior to her death.

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dad rhony rebecca minkoff patient suicide mental health lawsuit
Source: WhitneyJMills@Instagram

On May 12, 2022, Whitney "attempted to set herself on fire before inflicting herself with a gunshot wound," the lawsuit filed in Florida said.

Whitney’s condition was so severe that she often found it difficult to leave the home or do regular daily activities such as bathing, the lawsuit claimed.

At the time, members of the Sea Org — the senior-most status of staff within the Church of Scientology — ordered Whitney be “quarantined,” it’s alleged.

Simultaneously, she began receiving treatment from Dr. Minkoff.

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Dr. Minkoff — whose daughter Rebecca recently started filming Season 15 of the hit Bravo franchise — has been silent on the lawsuit to date.

In the wake of the scandal, he was put “on notice” — a legal requirement in Florida for defendants in an upcoming malpractice lawsuit, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

But the church — in calling Whitney’s death “an unfortunate tragedy" — denied the Mills family's allegations.

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dad rhony rebecca minkoff patient suicide mental health lawsuit
Source: WhitneyJMills@Instagram

The church — in calling Whitney’s death “an unfortunate tragedy" — denied the Mills family's allegations.

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“Church policy is crystal clear: if a Scientologist is in need of medical care, he or she must see a medical doctor,” said spokeswoman Karen Pouw.

“Any and all decisions regarding medical treatment are solely the decision of the individual. The Church does not provide medical advice.”

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, this is not the first time Dr. Minkoff has been the subject of malpractice claims.

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In December 1995, Lisa McPherson — a 36-year-old Scientologist — was rushed to Dr. Minkoff at the Community Hospital of New Port Richey in Florida after the Church had held her for almost three weeks following an alleged psychotic break.

But immediately upon arriving at the hospital, the woman was pronounced dead.

It was later revealed that during the days leading up to McPherson’s death, Dr. Minkoff had prescribed her Valium at the request of fellow Scientologists, even though he never examined or spoke with her.

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dad rhony rebecca minkoff patient suicide mental health lawsuit
Source: MEGA

“Church policy is crystal clear: if a Scientologist is in need of medical care, he or she must see a medical doctor."

The incident resulted in Dr. Minkoff being fined $10,000 and his medical license suspended for a year.

The McPherson family settled their lawsuit against the church out of court in 2003.

According to the Mills family's lawsuit, Whitney’s mental state grew worse in the weeks before her death when she openly began to speak about suicide or "drop the body."

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According to the lawsuit, the term "drop the body" was created by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology’s founder.

"Following his 1986 death, Scientology leaders announced that (Hubbard's) body had become an impediment to his work and that he had decided to 'drop his body' to continue his research on another plane of existence," the lawsuit claimed.

"They further announced that Hubbard deliberately caused his spirit to discard his body, of which a side effect was his body’s death. In other words, Hubbard willfully dropped his body, ending his own corporeal life."

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dad rhony rebecca minkoff patient suicide mental health lawsuit
Source: MEGA

Dr. Minkoff’s daughter Rebecca will star alongside New York co-stars Sai De Silva, Ubah Hassan, Erin Lichy, Jenna Lyons, Jessel Taank, and Brynn Whitfield.

Mills' family accuses Scientology of negligent undertaking, negligent supervision, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

They are seeking a jury trial as well as compensatory damages, and costs.

Pouw said allegations about Scientology beliefs and practices described in the lawsuit were “blatant falsehoods,” and said at the time of her death, Whitney was at her own home and not under the church’s care or supervision.

Dr. Minkoff’s daughter Rebecca will star alongside New York co-stars Sai De Silva, Ubah Hassan, Erin Lichy, Jenna Lyons, Jessel Taank, and Brynn Whitfield.

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