A civil lawsuit against the Lehigh Regional Medical Center and former nurse now has a trial set for May. In the lawsuit, a woman alleges a night nurse at the medical center raped her while medicated and under his care.
The lawsuit also claims that the night nurse had similar issues across the country before he was hired at Lehigh Regional Medical Center.
The woman, who will be referred to as Jane Doe, wants damages from the hospital because she claims if Lehigh Regional Medical Center had done its homework, that nurse would have never had a chance to rape her.
Ryan Fogg, Jane Doe’s attorney, said the alleged rape took place in November 2019.
“My client was attached to an IV, and she was medicated. She was given two milligrams of Ativan by this nurse, the nurse who ended up raping her.” Fogg said, “we believe that he took advantage of her in that medicated state.”
Fogg and his client want the nurse and the hospital held accountable. They argue that the nurse should never have been hired.
“This nurse had a very checkered past,” said Fogg.
This lawsuit details that past, as does the Oregon State Board of Nursing.
That agency sanctioned the nurse after finding several complaints of inappropriate sexual contact with patients. A hospital fired that same nurse for inappropriate sexual contact with a patient, and another Florida patient accused him of sexual assault in 2014 while she was under his care.
The lawsuit also lists several complaints of sexual harassment and assault by the nurse’s co-workers from 2017 until right before Lehigh Regional Medical Center hired him in 2019
Fogg said, “it is so incumbent on hospitals to investigate the individuals that they are hiring because the patients are so vulnerable when they’re there. They are at the mercy of the hospital in the staff that the hospital hires.”
WINK News has reached out to Lehigh Regional Medical Center for comment. They have not responded.
WINK News is not naming the male nurse because while the lawsuit accuses him of rape, he is not charged with that crime.
Jane Doe’s attorney, Ryan Fogg wants the state attorney’s office to take a second look at this case.
WINK News discovered a report showing the patient reported a rape to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office less than a week after she says it happened. That report shows the case was handed over to the special victims unit, but there’s no record showing the nurse was ever arrested or charged
This investigation from the Oregon Board of Nursing gives us some insight into what happened to the male nurse after the reported rape. It says Lehigh Regional Medical Center fired the nurse three weeks later for failing to disclose on his application that his nursing license was previously disciplined in other states.
Once he left, the investigation says the nurse worked at Physician’s Regional Medical Center in Naples until he was fired in 2020 for complaints of inappropriately touching and speaking to patients.
The Florida Department of Health website says the nurse gave up his Florida nursing license for disciplinary reasons.
The lawyer for the patient that the nurse allegedly raped says the nurse should be behind bars. “I can’t tell you why or the decision making into the decision not to arrest him and prosecute criminal charges against him yet,” said Fogg. “The hospital is the one who could have prevented this, but we wanted to sue him as well to make sure that he wasn’t going to get away unscathed for this heinous act.”
WINK News asked the state attorney’s office if anyone could explain why no one prosecuted the case. A spokesperson explained an arrest would come first and no one was arrested in the case. The spokesperson said they did an agency review on someone with the nurse’s name.
Lehigh Regional Medical Center released a statement on behalf of CEO Cheryl McIntire a day after this story aired.
“We cannot comment on ongoing litigation. However, the health and safety of our patients and staff are our highest priority. Lehigh Regional Medical Center performs all due diligence prior to hiring staff, including completion of background checks. Lehigh’s safety practices are reflected in its recent “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for Fall 2021, and its national designation as a “100 Top Hospital,” and 2021 Leapfrog Top General Hospital award.”