Three female doctors have sued Los Angeles County for “ignoring” their complaints about a prominent surgeon who allegedly stuck his fingers into an unconscious patient’s hip wound and made sex noises – claiming “I found the G-spot.”
Dr. Louis Kwong, the former head of orthopedics at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California, is accused of sexual harassment, retaliation and discriminatory conduct.
The plaintiffs, Dr. Haleh Badkoobehi, Dr. Jennifer Hsu and Dr. Madonna Fernandez-Frackelton, all claim they were demoted when they complained about Kwong’s behavior.
They said in a lawsuit that hospital administrators ignored complaints about him for years — and that there was strong misogyny at the facility, with all three saying they were paid less than their male colleagues.
Among the women’s most damning allegations is that Kwong sexually abused unconscious patients in the operating room. He had worked at the hospital since 1990 and was placed on leave in March 2022.
Dr. Louis Kwong, the former head of orthopedics at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California, has been accused of sexual harassment, retaliation and discriminatory conduct
He also allegedly requested that a baseball game be shown on television to monitor a patient’s surgery and also delayed acute surgery for county residents to undergo elective procedures.
Kwong also carried a gun at work and often brought it into operating rooms.
Badkoobehi claims in her lawsuit that she saw Kwong “hitting surgical hip wounds with his fingers” on an unconscious patient. He made sexual noises and said he was “finding the G-spot,” she claims.
Kwong Badkoobehi also allegedly showed an anesthetized patient’s penis after being told it was big.
According to the lawsuit, Kwong once asked other Harbor-UCLA employees, “Who wants body shots from Dr. Make Badkoobehi?”
The resident doctors also felt encouraged to visit strip clubs together – and were sometimes taken against their consent, the lawsuit says.
During a lecture to students, Kwong Badkoobehi asked, “What sexual position causes a penis fracture?” And the doctor didn’t stop questioning until he was given the answer: “Reverse cowgirl,” the lawsuit says.
Since Kwong was placed on administrative leave, he has earned up to $1 million in salary and benefits in a year, NBC said.
In late June, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education placed Harbor-UCLA on probation after a visit resulted in all 64 emergency room residents filing a complaint about the toxic work environment.
The complaints were particularly directed at the hospital’s orthopedic department, for which Kwong was responsible.
Haleh Badkoobehi. Kwong Badkoobehi also reportedly showed an anesthetized patient’s penis after being told it was big.
After Fernandez-Frackelton, 53, complained, she was fired as the emergency department’s program director and replaced with a less experienced man – and the department told her they needed to “give a talented man a chance before you turn into a pumpkin.” . “ says the lawsuit.
Although the hospital’s CEO said the allegations against Kwong were “very serious,” nothing has changed, Badkoobehi said.
A representative from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services said, “Harbour-UCLA Medical Center is committed to the health and safety of our patients and employees.” These allegations of misconduct are being investigated thoroughly and, if confirmed, will result in appropriate corrective action.
“We greatly value the trust the public has placed in our dedicated medical and patient care teams. “Ensuring patient care is our top priority.”
Speaking to NBC, Fernandez-Frackelton said, “I love working with the patients.” It’s an underserved population, the working poor in Los Angeles, and it’s really satisfying and rewarding to take care of them.
“But our system should respond to complaints about the inadequate care they receive.”
Carol Gillam, representing the doctors, said: “This story is unfortunately all too familiar, of powerful doctors at prestigious teaching hospitals abusing patients and flaunting their own privileges and connections to the men who are supposed to supervise, discipline and remove them.” .’
This comes days after it was alleged that imprisoned Columbia University gynecologist Robert Hadden had 301 additional victims, a new lawsuit says.
The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, accuses Columbia of “covering up the sexual abuse” of “the most prolific sex offender in the history of New York State.”
Madonna Fernandez-Frackelton said, “I love working with the patients.” “It’s an underserved population, the working poor in Los Angeles, and it’s really satisfying and rewarding to take care of them.”
Jennifer Hsu. She is one of the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit
Hadden was sentenced in July to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 200 patients while working at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The abuse began in the 1980s and he resigned in 2016.
Columbia agreed to pay $72 million in compensation to 72 of the doctor’s victims in 2021, and reached $165 million in compensation with 147 patients the following year.
Attorney Anthony DiPietro announces the latest lawsuit, alleging that Columbia orchestrated a widespread, years-long cover-up.
“Columbia has made it very clear that they only care about their money and if that’s the case I want to hit them as hard as possible where it hurts them the most and hopefully they won’t let something like that happen in the future “Future again,” DiPietro told the Wall Street Journal.
This is the third civil lawsuit against Columbia involving Hadden. They allege that hospital administrators, nurses and other doctors helped cover up his abuse.
Minouche Shafik, president of Columbia University, and Katrina Armstrong, CEO of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, issued a joint statement about the crimes in September.
“Columbia continues to grapple with the extent of the harm inflicted on former physician Robert Hadden’s patients.” “Nothing can excuse the mistreatment of these patients in an environment where they should have been cared for and safe,” they wrote .
“We deeply apologize to all of his victims and their families.”
And last October, a former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, was found guilty of five counts of sexually abusing female patients in a criminal case brought after the university system paid nearly $700 million in legal costs had.
The jury in Los Angeles found Dr. James Heaps, a longtime gynecologist on the UCLA campus, found not guilty on seven of the 21 counts and deadlocked on the remaining counts.
The sex offender was led out of court in handcuffs after receiving the verdict.
In the wake of the scandal that erupted in 2019 after the doctor’s arrest, UCLA agreed to pay nearly $700 million in settlements to hundreds of Heaps’ patients – a record sum from a public university amid a wave of sexual misconduct scandals University doctors in 2019 the last few years.