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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
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Patient Says Hospital Covered Up Assault

PHOENIX (CN) - A hospital refused to call police after an employee sexually assaulted a partially paralyzed 22-year-old stroke victim, the woman says. She claims that Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn officials refused to report the assault to avoid a "publicity nightmare." And she claims her stroke was caused by the NuvaRing contraceptive device, which has been linked to blood clots.

The plaintiff, an "attractive" graduate student who worked as an emergency room clerk at a different Scottsdale hospital, was rendered unable to speak and was paralyzed on her right side after the stroke, she claims in Maricopa County Court.

She says her partial paralysis allowed Graham C. Hood, a temporary nursing employee, to sexually assault her for 15 to 20 minutes. She says she understood what was happening to her, but her condition kept her from screaming and fighting.

Her medical records show in the days after the assault she appeared "agitated, frustrated and mad," according to the complaint. She says that Kathleen Leising, a speech pathologist for Scottsdale Healthcare, pieced together her report of the assault and told Patricia Crellin, a doctor at the hospital, about it.

The plaintiff says Dr. Crellin failed to report the assault to police and Shelly Vanvianen, a nurse manager, Sue Livengood, associate vice-president of nursing, and Alan B. Kelly, Scottsdale Healthcare senior vice president and legal counsel, "issued the order that the Scottsdale Police were not to be called."

According to the complaint, Scottsdale Healthcare Security Manager Gary Purcell, was told to "conduct a 'low key' internal investigation and not to call the police."

The plaintiff says that Livengood apologized to her for the assault, but "claimed that she failed to report the sexual assault to the police because it was not clear that a crime had been committed."

Although the plaintiff was unable to speak, she completed drawings with Leising about the attack and her "cognitive abilities were intact," the lawsuit states.

She also sued the makers of the NuvaRing contraceptive ring, claiming it caused blood clots that led to her stroke. Defendants in this part of the claim are Organon USA, Organon Pharmaceutical USA, Organon International and Organon Biosciences.

She claims the contraceptive ring was misrepresented as having similar side effects to the birth control pill, though it places users at a greater risk for blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. She says that if she had known about the risks, she would not have used the product.

She seeks punitive damages, medical expenses and attorney's fees. She is represented by George H. Lyons.

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