Two hospitals are facing lawsuits, as are several physicians and staff, in two cases in which healthcare professionals are accused of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
In the first case, a woman accused David Newman, MD, then-director of clinical research in emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, of drugging her, groping her, and masturbating and ejaculating on her in January 2016, according to her criminal complaint. Newman was arrested, and his attorney released a statement saying Newman pleaded not guilty.
The complaint alleges that the woman went to the Mount Sinai emergency department (ED) with shoulder pain on Jan. 11. The physician administered morphine to her, even though she already had pain medication, the complaint said. While sedated, she heard and saw the doctor masturbating and ejaculating on her face and breasts, according to her complaint. She called police after leaving the ED, and DNA evidence was collected. That DNA evidence matched the doctor’s DNA, according to the lawsuit.
The woman’s lawsuit names other ED staff members, claims that the hospital “failed to enforce internal policies,” and alleges the hospital “negligently” hired, trained, retained, and supervised the doctor. She is seeking unspecified monetary damages. The doctor has been charged with first- and third-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching, according to statements released by police. Mount Sinai Hospital issued a statement saying the physician is no longer employed at the hospital but did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
TECH RECORDS OR INCIDENT
In the other case, a surgical technician at Adventist Medical Center – Hanford in California took a cellphone video of a nurse anesthetist that shows him exposing himself and masturbating during a surgical procedure.
The woman’s attorney, John Little, JD, of Fresno, CA, released the video publicly after she filed a lawsuit accusing the hospital of ignoring her reports of sexual harassment by the anesthetist and a surgeon. She alleges that urologist Seetharaman Ashok, MD, touched and kissed her without her consent and made inappropriate sexual comments about her. Some of the physical contact was recorded by hospital surveillance cameras, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also claims that the doctor made a false allegation of misconduct and incompetence against a friend and co-worker of the woman who had witnessed the harassment. The woman’s attorney stated in a news conference that she had reported the harassment to hospital leaders, but the attorney said nothing was done. When the hospital also didn’t respond to her reports that nurse anesthetist Richard McGrory was exposing himself to her during surgeries, she decided to record him, the lawsuit says.
The woman and her co-worker friend are seeking unspecified damages for sexual harassment, unlawful sexual battery in the workplace, and retaliation. According to their attorney, the urologist still has privileges at the hospital and the anesthetist was allowed to resign. The hospital provided favorable recommendations to the anesthetist for use in obtaining another job, according to the complaint.
The complaint against Adventist Medical Center – Hanford is available online at http://tinyurl.com/hdbpa7q. Adventist Health spokeswoman Christine Pickering issued a statement saying the allegations of cover-up were “false and misleading” but that the organization does not discuss pending litigation.