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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Surgery Graffiti Time May Cost Hospital Staff

(CN) - A surgical technician who had to go under the knife for a tonsillectomy can sue his former hospital co-workers who wrote personal notes on his body and painted his fingers and toes with pink nail polish, a Texas appeals court ruled.

Chauncey Drewery filed the lawsuit for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the hospital; the two nurses who drew on him, Kristien Williams and Barbara Wiedebusch; and two other co-workers who did nothing to stop the women.

Drewery claimed that while he was under anesthesia, the nurses painted his fingernails and toenails pink, and wrote "Kris was here" and "Barb was here" on the bottoms of his feet. They also wrapped his thumb with tape, he said.

Drewery, who is straight, said the defendants teased him, joked that he was gay and tried to make him look "like a little girl."

He also claimed the tape-wrapped thumb was meant to mock him for what he called his "very private, but embarrassing habit" of sucking his thumb.

Drewery says the resulting severe emotional distress he felt caused him to leave his job.

The trial court dismissed Drewery's case for failing to obtain a medical expert report, but the Austin-based Third District Texas Court of Appeals ruled that this was not necessary and said the lawsuit could proceed.

"Drewery is not attempting to recover for the medical negligence of any defendant; the only damages he has sought and the only damages that are supported by his pleadings relate to the intentional torts that he has alleged," Judge J. Woodfin Jones wrote for the court.

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