Elderly woman sues a Kansas hospital saying a man sexually assaulted her at the facility
A man has been charged with rape and other crimes in a series of sexual assaults on patients at a Kansas hospital, and a 76-year-old woman who says she was among his victims blamed the facility's neglect and carelessness.
The woman filed a lawsuit Monday against Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Wichita seeking more than $75,000.
Miguel Rodela, 28, was indicted last month on multiple counts of rape, attempted rape and assault, and is being jailed on $250,000 bail. Rodela, who was neither a patient nor a hospital employee, was detained in the early morning of June 15 after fighting with security guards. Her attorney at the public defender's office declined to comment.
The 76-year-old woman said she woke up around 1 a.m. that day to a man fiddling with her catheter. She told police she assumed he was fixing it, but noting that she was not wearing medical gloves or scrubs, she told him to find someone else to fix the catheter, according to the probable cause affidavit.
A nurse entered the room, but when the man said he was a nursing student, the nurse left without asking any questions. Shortly after, the patient pressed a call button for the nurse to return, and the man left. They called security and the woman denounced: "she raped me"
The lawsuit alleges that Rodel was in the patient's room for more than 20 minutes.
"No patient should have to face such a violation of their dignity and safety, let alone in a hospital setting," their attorney, Matt Dwyer of the Hutton & Hutton Law Firm, said in a written statement.
But that was not the end, court records show. The security officer had just started reviewing the surveillance video when he was alerted to another assault on the seventh floor. A nursing technician found Rodela there hugging an 82-year-old woman, her hands under her blankets. The patient said the man had kissed her on the mouth, according to her affidavit.
Shortly after, a security officer on the sixth floor saw Rodela on top of a 47-year-old patient, lifting her shirt. The patient had a traumatic brain injury that prevented her from speaking and Rodela told a nurse that he was her relative, though she was skeptical, according to the affidavit.
Under questioning, Rodela told police that he had been drinking and having sexual fantasies about hospitalized patients. He said that he entered the hospital through a door behind an employee and that he came into contact with at least three patients. He said he rubbed and kissed them awake, the affidavit says.
The hospital said in a written statement that it is reviewing its security procedures, but declined to comment on the litigation.
The lawsuit alleges that unionized nurses at the hospital went on a one-day strike less than two weeks after the sexual assaults, identifying safety as one of their main concerns.
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