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Saturday, April 13, 2024 | Back issues
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Woman Can Proceed With Case Against Male Nurses

(CN) - A Texas appeals court allowed a female surgery patient to sue a pair of male nurses who allegedly undressed her, turned her with their hands instead of a turning pad, tried to climb into bed with her, and danced with her while transferring her from her bed to a chair.

Sandra Sanchez underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2007 at Spohn-Shoreline Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. She claimed that a nurse and nurse's assistant made unwanted sexual advances to her while she was recovering in the intensive care unit.

Sanchez said Edwin DeJesus and Alain Njoh undressed her to view her naked body and wrote "I love you" on the whiteboard in her room.

The men argued that most of the claims were subjective interpretations of what, in reality, were routine nursing tasks, including changing her clothes, turning her over in bed and helping her into a chair.

Sanchez sued the nurses and the hospital for negligence, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court denied the hospital's motion to dismiss for lack of an adequate medical expert's report.

The 13th District Court of Appeal in Corpus Christi agreed that Sanchez could proceed with her lawsuit, because her experts -- a doctor and a nurse -- had sufficiently linked the defendants' conduct to damage to Sanchez.

"Read in combination with (the nurse's) report on the standard of care, which provided that Spohn-Shoreline had a duty to provide a safe recovery environment for its vulnerable post-operative patients, we conclude that (the doctor) sufficiently linked Sanchez's assault to Spohn-Shoreline's failure to protect her from the assaultive conduct of (the male nurses)," Justice Rodriguez wrote.

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