An Oregon circuit court judge entered a $950,000 verdict against a rural hospital, due to an employee who sexually assaulted an unconscious patient.
The plaintiff, LeAnn Erikson was admitted to Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC) in The Dalles, Oregon, for a blood patch procedure.
Prior to the procedure, anesthesia was administered and while she was unconscious the employee, Frederick Field forced the plaintiff to perform a sexual act.
Erikson filed a complaint alleging hospital administration negligence and hospital administration gross negligence.
The plaintiff alleged the hospital was aware of Field’s actions and the employer failed to remove him from his current position and failed to notify the authorities about all of the sexual assault incidents.
In the past, the hospital had received complaints regarding the Field’s sexual assault against other patients awaiting surgery. Patients reported sexual assault incidents in 2007, 2008 and 2011. MCMC also received complaints from the staff, who complained about Field’s abuse. The complaints from patients amounted to 19.
Hospital administrators oversee day-to-day operations at hospitals and ensure that every patient receives the care they needed. With hospital administrator negligence the plaintiff proves the general elements of negligence along with proving the victims injuries were a result of the administrators actions.
The victim regained consciousness during the assault. Field noticed the patient conscious and administered more anesthesia to make the patient unconscious again.
The definition of sexual assault varies from state to state. In Oregon sexual assault is defined as any unwanted sexual contact, which includes a person who is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to the [sexual] act. Or. Rev. Stat. §163.305.
Field was arrested in 2011, he was charged with sexual abuse and rape. Field was sentenced to 23 years in prison for the crimes.
This case is LeAnn Erikson v. Mid Columbia Medical Center (MCMC), Case No. 1300266C, Wasco County Circuit Court, Oregon.
The plaintiff was represented by Thomas D’Amore, D’Amore Law Group, P.C. Oswego, Oregon
The defendants were represented by Robert M. Keating & Peter D. Eidenberg, Keating Jones Hughes, Portland, Oregon