Former patient accuses Cedars-Sinai of negligence in lawsuit
A former patient at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center accused the hospital of negligence in a lawsuit filed Monday in which she said she was sexually assaulted last year by a certified nursing assistant after she underwent surgery.
The woman alleged in the suit that the hospital failed to adequately respond to complaints of sexual assaults involving the same employee dating back more than a decade.
In addition, the patient said Cedars-Sinai never interviewed her or made any effort to investigate after she reported the assault to the hospital June 13. Her lawsuit said she made several attempts to speak to someone at Cedars-Sinai before being told that the employee had been fired and that she could report the matter to police if she wanted further action taken.
The lawsuit, which also alleges dependent adult abuse as well as medical malpractice, accused Guillermo Diaz, a former certified nursing assistant at the hospital, of sexually assaulting her. Diaz’s certification was revoked by the state last year after allegations of sexual abuse, according to the state Department of Public Health.
A man who answered Diaz’s cellphone declined to be interviewed.
The hospital has said Diaz was suspended June 18 and fired July 11.
Cedars-Sinai released a statement Monday saying the hospital conducted investigations after each complaint and that Diaz’s state certification was revoked with the assistance of the hospital.
Los Angeles police began an investigation into Diaz last year after two patients came forward to report they had been sexually assaulted by a Cedars-Sinai employee, according to a search warrant filed by police earlier this year.
During the investigation, a detective discovered two older sexual assault accusations by patients against Diaz — one dating to 2000 — as well as a decade-old complaint by a co-worker who claimed Diaz raped her after an office party, according to the search warrant. None of those cases resulted in criminal charges. Diaz, 56, denied wrongdoing during interviews with police, according to the warrant.
A district attorney’s spokeswoman said Monday that prosecutors have yet to decide whether to file criminal charges against Diaz in connection with the latest investigation.
Monday’s lawsuit alleged that a 43-year-old patient was assaulted in April 2013 after a nine-hour surgery to remove a pancreatic tumor. She said she was “very weak and in excruciating pain following the surgery.”
Diaz, the lawsuit alleges, offered her a back rub but moved his hands to her breasts and then her groin, despite the patient telling him to stop.
“It is outrageous that Cedars-Sinai allowed Mr. Diaz to continue working there despite repeated complaints of him sexually abusing patients,” attorney Michael Alder, whose firm is representing the former patient, said in a statement. “It is tragic that the alleged attack on our client was completely preventable by this institution.”
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