Three female doctors sue LA County for ‘ignoring’ their complaints about gun-toting prominent orthopedic surgeon Louis Kwong, who stuck his fingers in a hip wound on an unconscious patient and made sex noises – claiming ‘I’ve found the G-spot’
Three female doctors are suing Los Angeles County for ‘ignoring’ their complaints about a top surgeon who allegedly stuck his fingers into a hip wound on an unconscious patient and made sex noises – claiming ‘I have the G- spot found’.
Dr. Louis Kwong, the former head of the orthopedics department at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California, is accused of sexual harassment, retaliation and discriminatory behavior.
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 intense misogyny existed at the facility, with all three saying they were paid less than their male counterparts.
One of the most damning allegations filed by the women included Kwong sexually assaulting 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 the orthopedics department at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California, has been accused of sexual harassment, retaliation and discriminatory behavior.
He also allegedly called for a baseball game to be televised monitoring a patient’s surgery, and also delayed acute surgery for county residents to perform elective procedures.
Kwong also carried a gun to work and often brought it into operating rooms.
Badkoobehi claims in her lawsuit that she saw Kwong ‘engaging in ‘finger tapping’ surgical hip wounds’ on an unconscious patient. He made sexual noises and said he was ‘finding the G-spot’, she claims.
Kwong also allegedly showed an anesthetized patient’s penis to Badkoobehi after being told it was large.
According to the lawsuit, Kwong once asked other Harbor-UCLA employees, “Who wants body shots of Dr. Badkoobehi pick up?’
The resident doctors also felt encouraged to attend strip clubs together — and were sometimes taken against their consent, the lawsuit alleges.
During a lecture to students, Kwong asked Badkoobehi: ‘Which sexual position causes a penile fracture?’ And the doctor didn’t stop the questioning until he was given the answer: “reverse cowgirl,” the lawsuit says.
Since being placed on administrative leave, Kwong has earned as much as $1 million in pay 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 department residents filing complaints about the toxic work environments.
The complaints were lodged specifically against the hospital’s orthopedics unit, where Kwong was in charge.
Haleh Badkoobehi. Kwong also allegedly showed an anesthetized patient’s penis to Badkoobehi after being told it was large.
After Fernandez-Frackelton, 53, complained, she was removed as program director of the emergency department and replaced by a less experienced man – and the department told her they had to give a talented guy a chance before you put him in ‘ ‘turned a pumpkin,’ the lawsuit alleges.
Despite the hospital’s CEO saying allegations about Kwong were “very serious,” nothing had changed, Badkoobehi said.
A representative from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services said: ‘Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is committed to the health and safety of our patients and staff. These allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated and, if substantiated, will result in appropriate corrective actions.
‘We greatly appreciate the trust the public place in our dedicated medical and patient care teams. Safeguarding patient care is our highest 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 really satisfying and rewarding to take care of them.
‘But our system must respond to complaints about the inadequate care they receive.’
Carol Gillam, representing the doctors, said: ‘This story is unfortunately an all-too-familiar one about powerful doctors at prestigious teaching hospitals abusing patients and flaunting their own privileges and connections to the men who are supposed to be supervising them. to discipline and remove. .’
It comes days after jailed Columbia University gynecologist Robert Hadden allegedly had 301 additional victims, a new lawsuit said.
The suit, filed in New York Supreme Court, accuses Columbia of “covering up the sexual abuse” of “the most prolific serial sexual predator 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 really satisfying and rewarding to take care of them’
Jennifer Hsu. She is one of the plaintiffs who filed the suit
Hadden was jailed for 20 years in July for sexually assaulting 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 a $72 million settlement to 79 of the doctor’s victims in 2021, and the following year reached a $165 million settlement with 147 patients.
In announcing the latest case, attorney Anthony DiPietro alleges that Columbia orchestrated a coverup that was widespread and continued for years.
“Columbia has shown very clearly that the only thing they care about is their money and if that’s the case I want to hit them as hard as I can where it hurts them the most and hopefully they won’t let it happen again in the future,” DiPietro told the Wall Street Journal.
Now the third civil suit filed against Columbia involving Hadden, they allege that hospital administrators, nurses and other doctors helped cover up his abuse.
Columbia University President Minouche Shafik and Columbia University Irving Medical Center CEO Katrina Armstrong issued a joint statement in September addressing the crimes.
‘Columbia continues to grapple with the extent of the damage done to the patients of former doctor Robert Hadden. Nothing can excuse these patients being mistreated in an environment where they should have been cared for and safe,’ they wrote.
‘We offer our deepest apologies to all his victims and their loved ones.’
And last October, a former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles was convicted on five counts of sexually abusing female patients, in a criminal case that came after the university system made nearly $700 million in lawsuit payouts.
The Los Angeles jury found Dr. James Heaps, a longtime UCLA campus gynecologist, was found not guilty on seven of the 21 charges and was convicted on the remaining charges.
The sex attacker was removed from the court in handcuffs after receiving the verdict.
In the wake of the scandal that erupted after the doctor’s arrest in 2019, UCLA agreed to pay nearly $700 million in lawsuit settlements to hundreds of Heaps’ patients — a record amount by a public university amid a spate of sexual misconduct scandals by campus doctors in last few years.