After a nearly month-long trial in The Dalles, Oregon, a Wasco County jury returned a verdict of $2.4 million for three women who were sexually molested during surgery at Mid-Columbia Medical Center. Anesthesiologist Frederick Field was sentenced in 2012 to 23 years in prison for molesting a dozen women while they were in varying states of consciousness after having been sedated (19 total victims came forward). Field concealed his crimes behind a standard surgical screen, often placing a female patient’s hand on his genitals, offering them reassuring words whenever he detected signs of struggle or resistance.
Plaintiffs Willie Gmeinder and Erin Vance were awarded $900,000 and $700,000 in non-economic damages, respectively. They were represented by Mark McDougal and Greg and Jason Kafoury of Kafoury & McDougal. Plaintiff Sharon Hobbs was represented by Jan Wyers, and awarded $800,000.
The jury unanimously found the hospital liable for negligence and battery. The key allegations were that hospital officials told the women who complained about Field that they had been imagining things, then concealed documentary evidence and made false and misleading statements to police once an investigation began, all in order to avoid scandal and liability for the hospital.
While the great bulk of evidence of misconduct was directed towards CEO Duane Francis and Vice President Dianne Storby, the jury found in their favor regarding their personal liability.
A year ago, at Dr. Field’s sentencing, Greg Kafoury publicly declared, “I want to promise the women of this community that those who knew, those who were told and those who concealed will be brought to trial.”
The hospital, Francis and Storby were defended by Robert Keating of Keating and Jones in Portland and Andrew Efaw of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell in Colorado.
Kafoury & McDougal represent four more women who were molested by Field. Their cases are set for trial in March, 2014. The Dalles Chronicle provided nearly daily coverage of the trial below are links to the media coverage:
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