Five lawsuits filed against the Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center accuse the hospital of knowing that one of the male nursing assistant molested and even sexually assaulted patients at the facility and doing absolutely nothing about it. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Daily News, the complaints filed against the hospital allege that hospital officials knew about the nurse’s despicable conduct toward several female patients before he was suspended in April 2006.
The lawsuits also allege that the hospital did not do enough background checks on Ramon Eduardo Rodas Gaspar, who is now on the run and wanted by police on suspicion of molesting more than 10 women who were sedated after surgery, the newspaper reported. Plaintiffs’ attorneys say the most appalling aspect of the lawsuit is that the hospital did nothing to protect patients even after officials knew what Gaspar was up to.
An attorney for the hospital of course denies that allegation. According to hospital officials, there was only one complaint against Gaspar before 2006 and that was largely unsubstantiated in an internal investigation. But among the complainants is also a female nurse who said Gaspar groped and sexually harassed her soon after he was hired in 2004. She reported it to the hospital, but nothing came out of it.
The accounts of abuse by Gaspar are not only appalling and horrifying, but deeply disturbing. This could have happened to any unsuspecting patient who went in there from anywhere between a routine procedure to a serious surgery. Gaspar reportedly spared no one. Among his victims was a woman who was waking up from anesthesia after having her gall bladder removed. Another woman was allegedly molested after surgery for her appendicitis!
If these complaints are in fact true and if it is proven that the hospital did know about Gaspar’s actions and didn’t bother to check his dubious record, the hospital must be held accountable and liable in these incidents. These patients were in their most vulnerable state – physically weak, sedated and barely conscious after a surgery. What kind of a person would take advantage of someone in that position?
Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of these horrible crimes. We hope they get fairly compensated for the physical and emotional injuries they must have suffered. And we hope outside agencies conduct a thorough investigation of hospital procedures so these types of incidents never, ever happen again.