Patient accuses New York hospital of covering up sexual assault

A former patient is suing a New York hospital, accusing the facility of covering up a sexual assault allegedly committed by a doctor in 2021.

The female The patient, who is not named in the lawsuit filed Monday night, is suing NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital along with several employees. She accuses the hospital of suspecting a sexual assault by Dr. Covering up Zhi Alan Cheng, who she said drugged her with an unknown substance and filmed her assault in the examination room.

Cheng was arrested and charged with aggravated rape last year and is currently awaiting trial, inmate files show.

Cheng’s attorneys told HuffPost that they would respond to the allegations “in court” and that they had neither received nor reviewed the lawsuit as of Tuesday afternoon.

At the time of the alleged incident, the patient was 19 years old, spoke no English and had recently moved to the United States from South America.

Cheng first contacted the patient at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens. He examined her alone on June 20, 2021, two days after she was admitted to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain due to gallstones.

The lawsuit filed by HuffPost states: Cheng performed an unnecessary and invasive rectal exam on the patient when they first met.

Later that same day, Cheng allegedly used an employee ID card to unlock the stairwell door near the patient’s room and entered the room alone, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit alleges that the nurses did not adequately monitor the patient and did not visit her room regularly.

Cheng then injected an unknown drug into the patient’s IV bag connected to her arm, the lawsuit says. The drug caused her excruciating pain and quickly lost consciousness, and he began sexually molesting her on video without her knowing, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges that the doctor injected a drug into the patient's IV.
The lawsuit alleges that the doctor injected a drug into the patient’s IV.

Bloomberg Creative via Getty Images

dr Sang Hoon Kim, one of the doctors also named in the lawsuit, is said to have signed on as a witness in his report using “boilerplate language,” which he copied from a template.

The lawsuit alleges that Kim made false statements in his notes about the procedure, including that the patient was given “twilight anesthesia.” The notes also failed to mention that she was rectally penetrated during the procedure.

After Cheng left, the patient told a hospital worker that a doctor had given her a painful injection that rendered her unconscious. At the time, she was unaware that she had been sexually abused, the lawsuit states.

According to the lawyers, the hospital assembled a number of male doctors and the patient identified Cheng as the one who gave her the injection. But supposedly the hospital not do anything different about the patient report.

“The hospital made no note of the lineup in medical records, failed to notify police, and failed to contact Dr. Suspend or fire Cheng,” attorneys representing the patient said in one press release. “Furthermore, the hospital failed to collect forensic evidence, including robes or bed sheets, test the plaintiff’s blood to determine what she was injected with, or provide her with adequate and timely support services.”

The day after identification, Cheng continued treating the patient while she was sedated during surgery.

Christopher Daviess, another doctor named in the lawsuit, was allegedly informed by a staff member on June 23, 2021 that the patient had been sexually abused by Cheng.

The lawsuit alleges that Daviess delayed the patient’s discharge from hospital to have her blood drawn for an HIV test without her consent or knowledge, and failed to tell her that she believed she had been assaulted.

When she was discharged, Daviess gave the patient a packet containing hundreds of discharge pages Papers in English containing a “Bill of Rights in Sexual Assault”. The few papers, written in Spanish, confused her because she was unaware that she had been sexually abused, the lawsuit says.

The patient only found out about the assault more than a year later, in April 2023, when authorities called her and her mother to say they had found footage of Cheng sexually assaulting the young woman while she was unconscious, they said document it in the study.

Cheng was arrested on December 27, 2022 after a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship told police that she discovered a video of Cheng drugging and sexually abusing her multiple times while she was spending the night at his apartment.

Police said they found several videos showing Cheng sexually abusing other victims, including the patient.

NewYork-Presbyterian told HuffPost in a statement that it was “appalled and deeply saddened” by what the patient had to endure. The hospital said that Cheng was “immediately dismissed from duty, banned from hospital premises and discharged” after the district attorney general learned of the case.

“As nurses, we are responsible for the safety and well-being of our patients. It’s a sacred trust,” the hospital’s statement said. “The crimes committed by this person are heinous, despicable and a fundamental betrayal of our mission and the trust of our patients.”

The statement adds that NewYork-Presbyterian has numerous strict patient safety policies and protocols in place.

“Our comprehensive review of this matter included an analysis of compliance with these guidelines, as well as immediate implementation of additional training for all staff,” the hospital said. “At the same time, we reviewed the full scope of our protective measures to identify opportunities for further strengthening, consistent with our unwavering commitment to the highest standard of patient safety and care.”

But Adam Slater, one of the attorneys representing the patient, said in a statement that this is not the first time he has sued NewYork-Presbyterian on behalf of people who were sexually abused by hospital staff.

In 2021, Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian agreed a $71.5 million settlement involving 79 women who were former patients of former gynecologist Robert Hadden, who was convicted this year of sexually assaulting his patients.

“In the previous comparison of my company with NewYork-Presbyterian, a spokesman for the medical system promised that what Robert Hadden did would never happen to another patient,” says Slater said in the press release. “Less than two years later, my company is filing another lawsuit against the same hospital system for employing another reckless doctor.”

Slater added that the failure to protect patients was not an isolated incident but systemic in nature, and he encouraged survivors to seek legal counsel.

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