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‘No Means No,’ Especially in a Colonoscopy

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CN) - An Indiana physician faces a claim for rape and battery by a woman who says he plunged ahead with her colonoscopy despite her cries.

The plaintiff says her procedure amounted to "anal rape," leaving her with "physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, extreme emotional distress, and permanent damages."

"Defendants did not at any point in time explain to [the plaintiff] that she would be awake during the procedure, nor did any of the defendants explain that she would be able to feel the colonscopy scope in her rectum," the complaint states.

Though the plaintiff identifies herself and her doctor in the March 9 complaint against the South Bend Clinic in St. Joseph Circuit Court, Courthouse News has redacted those names because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The plaintiff, a resident of St. Joseph County, says she believed that she would be fully sedated for the colonoscopy procedure she scheduled for Sept. 4, 2014.

Though the nurse likewise assured the plaintiff that the drugs would put her to sleep, the plaintiff says she cried out when she felt "a pain up in her rectum."

With the plaintiff in agony for the next seven minutes, the doctor admittedly heard the plaintiff "cry out in pain," "say 'it hurts,'" and "say 'take it out,'" the complaint states.

The doctor "did not at any time stop the procedure," however, ignoring his patient's pleas, the complaint continues.

"Instead of stopping the procedure, [the doctor] admitted that 'every time [the plaintiff] said I'm hurting, I gave you more of it' (meaning the anesthesia)," according to the complaint (parentheses in original).

"[The doctor] admitted: 'I should have stopped. I agree with [the patient] here, I should have stopped at that point in time, you know, and the thing about... though is there's a fine line between stopping and terminating a procedure.'"

The plaintiff says she "had the right to refuse treatment and she withdrew her consent to the procedure."

The doctor "should have stopped the procedure immediately when the consent was withdrawn," according to the complaint.

In telling the plaintiff why he continued the procedure, the doctor allegedly noted that she was "not the first person to ask for the scope to be pulled out."

Rather than keeping his patient's wishes in mind, the doctor allegedly planned all along to stop the treatment only when "he reached his threshold, his comfort level for medication," the complaint states.

The plaintiff says the doctor gave her "the maximum medication he felt he could safely give her without compromising her breathing and blood pressure."

Concern that the plaintiff would accrue charges for a second procedure, "one for which she could have been placed under complete sedation," also factored into the doctor's decision, according to the complaint.

The plaintiff is represented by South Bend attorney Stephanie Nemeth, of Anderson, Agostino & Keller.

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