There are many fears one may have when faced with the prospect of going under anesthesia for a medical procedure. Not likely among the many thoughts you may have, however, is that a medical professional would take advantage of you while in this vulnerable state. Even though this risk may not spring to mind, it certainly is not impossible. Indeed, in a recent decision, Goldstein, Garber & Salama, LLC v. JB, the Georgia Court of Appeals addressed what liability may exist for a dental practice following the sexual assault of a patient by one of the company’s employees.
The sexual assault at issue in this case occurred on September 16, 2009. On that day, the plaintiff, a patient at an Atlanta dental practice facility, was set to undergo a three-part dental procedure. During phase one, a post for a tooth implant was installed, which required that the plaintiff be administered anesthesia. Following the completion of this phase, the plaintiff was still in a heavily sedated state, which lasted for approximately the next two hours. During these two hours, prior to the beginning of the second stage, the plaintiff was left alone with one of the dental practice’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. The nurse, a male, made three lewd videos with the plaintiff. These recordings were discovered afterward when the nurse’s phone was discovered secretly recording employees in the office’s restroom. An examination of the phone revealed that the nurse had made a number of other videos with anesthetized patients. In a subsequent criminal prosecution, the nurse pled guilty to a number of charges related to these activities and was sentenced to life in prison.