Doctor Sexually Assaulted Patient During Exam, She Claims
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (CN) – A Kaiser doctor sexually abused a patient during an exam for back pain, she claims in her Prince George County Circuit Court lawsuit.
Nelsie DiStefano sued Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C., doing business as Kaiser Permanente Gaithersburg Medical Center, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. and Bryan S. Williams, M.D. for medical malpractice, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, employer liability, negligent hiring, supervision, credentialing and retention, and violation of Maryland’s informed consent law.
DiStefano says she saw defendant Dr. Williams in August 2014 for evaluation of her chronic back and neck pain. She was concerned she may have broken her back during a fall the previous December. DiStefano also has a “longstanding history of mental health issues, which Dr. Williams knew or should have known would be exacerbated by inappropriate physical contact with her,” according to the suit.
There was no other person present during the exam, DiStefano's complaint explains. While Williams was examining her, he asked her to pull down her pants. Then Williams touched her buttocks and anus even though he was not wearing gloves. He then put on a glove and put his finger into her anus, asking if she felt pain. He did not ask for permission or explain how that action was necessary for his exam, according to the suit.
The suit continues, before he was finished with his exam, he put his finger even further into her anus a second time, again without explaining the action or getting her consent. DiStefano was upset and uncomfortable with what he had done and “ran to the bathroom to clean herself,” the complaint states.
In October 2014, DiStefano emailed her primary doctor and expressed that she felt she had been sexually abused by Dr. Williams, she says.
According to the suit, Kaiser knew from May 2013 that Williams was “inappropriately touching and fondling his vulnerable female pain management patients. Despite such knowledge, Kaiser Permanente negligently continued to retain Dr. Williams as its employee for over a year, negligently continued to allow Dr. Williams to treat these vulnerable female pain management patients without supervision, and refused to transfer Dr. Williams’ female patients to another pain management doctor.
Kaiser fired Williams on Oct. 28, 2014 “after receiving numerous complaints that he had inappropriately touched patients during his examinations or treatment of them,” according to the action. His medical license was suspended by the Maryland Board of Physicians in 2016.
DiStefano seeks monetary damages, interest and legal costs. She is represented by Elizabeth J. Frey of Miller & Zois, LLC, in Baltimore, Maryland.