Patient Alleges Brazen Sexual Assault

     SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (CN) — An offer of free therapy sessions and a different doctor are insufficient apology for a sexual assault by a physician assistant, a woman says in a lawsuit against a South Dakota pain clinic.
     In a Monday lawsuit in Union County Court, Penny Garcia says physician assistant Nicolas Fernando sexually assaulted her at the Siouxland Pain Clinic in Dakota Dunes in late June 2014.
     In a non-emergency consultation about pain management, Fernando told her to unbutton and unzip her pants because “he couldn’t see what he needed to see on her back,” then he pulled her pants down, Garcia says.
     The complaint continues: “Fernando asked plaintiff, ‘Can I?’ and, before plaintiff understood what he was asking, inserted his finger into plaintiff’s vagina.
     “Fernando then asked plaintiff, ‘How does that make you feel?’, to which plaintiff did not respond as she was in shock.
     “Fernando then removed his finger from plaintiff’s vagina and walked to the door where the nurse came in right away and Fernando advised plaintiff he was just going to give plaintiff her pain shots in the exam room.”
     But that wasn’t enough, Garcia says. After giving her the injection, as soon as the nurse left, Garcia says, Fernando lifted her shirt and bra “and started using his hands to fondle plaintiff’s left breast and then her right one, indicating that he ‘used to be that kind of doctor.'”
     Garcia “drove home sobbing” and then made an appointment with her family doctor.
     A month later, Garcia says, saw a different doctor at the Siouxland Pain Clinic and reported Fernando’s behavior. The doctor promised that the clinic would “get to the bottom” of it, and offered her eight free therapy sessions. Garcia says she declined the offer.
     Siouxland Pain Clinic did not respond to call after business hours Monday. Fernando is still listed as a staff member on the clinic’s website, checked Tuesday morning.
     Garcia seeks punitive damages for medical negligence and sexual assault and battery.
     She is represented by James Daane with Mayne, Arneson, Hindman, Hisey & Daane, in Sioux City, Iowa, who could not be reached for comment after business hours Monday.

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