Anesthesiologist Fred Field, MD, sexually assaulted at least 12 women at Mid-Columbia Medical Center in Oregon. His victims were drugged, unconscious or semi-conscious during the assaults.
It is likely Field sexually assaulted many other women—who may not know, or understand, what happened to them. Nationally, it is estimated that more than 60% of women who are sexually assaulted do not come forward out of shame or fear.
This is one victim’s story. To protect her privacy, she is identified here as “L”.
“L” was a surgical patient at Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC), a hospital in The Dalles, Oregon. After her surgery, she had a severe spinal headache. She went back to the hospital for a procedure called a blood patch to alleviate her pain.
The anesthesiologist that participated in her surgery would also take part in the blood patch procedure. That anesthesiologist was Fred Field.
L was sedated, incapacitated and vulnerable. While she was under the influence of anesthesia, Field sexually abused her.
During the procedure, L started to come out of anesthesia while Field was sexually abusing her. Field realized she was becoming conscious, and quickly put her back under.
L remembered Field’s assault, but the affects of the anesthesia made her uncertain: she did not know if it was a terrible dream.
She told a nurse what she remembered. But L was hesitant to accuse the doctor; she did not want to falsely accuse someone of a serious crime.
L wasn’t only a patient: she was also a nurse at MCMC. She was afraid of losing her job.
MCMC wasn’t just a hospital to her, but also a workplace and home-away-from-home. She trusted her colleagues and the doctors that worked at the hospital. And because of that trust, L told herself that what she remembered must not have happened.
L didn’t know that she wasn’t alone. Other patients had accused Field of assault, too.
Safe haven for a sex abuser
By the time of L’s assault, Field had been assaulting women under anesthesia at MCMC—and sexually harassing hospital staff—for at least three years.
There had been multiple patient and staff complaints of sexual abuse and harassment by Field.
You would think that the hospital would take such allegations very seriously. The primary concern of any hospital is patient safety.
You would think the hospital administration would do everything possible to protect their patients, their staff, and their reputation.
The hospital did nothing.
Instead of listening to women who reported sexual abuse, hospital administrators and staff told the patients they had been “hallucinating” because of the drugs.
Instead of contacting police to investigate serious felony sexual assaults, the hospital had only internal “investigations.” These investigations, done by Field’s colleagues and friends, did not seek truth, but exoneration.
Instead of protecting patients, the hospital protected a serial sex abuser.
L’s story continues in Jury gives justice to sex abuse victim – while hospital pretends it never happened: Part II.
Attorney Tom D’Amore and Attorney Nick Kahl of D’Amore Law Group represented L. in her sexual abuse lawsuit against the hospital.