Canada
Toronto doc sexually abused 21 sedated women, court told

Dr. George Doodnaught a prominent North York anesthesiologist is on trial for sexually assaulting 21 patients while unconscious and recovering from surgery.

Credits: Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

SAM PAZZANO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - A Toronto anesthesiologist forced 21 women to engage in sexual acts while they were conscious but sedated during operations, a Crown attorney alleged Monday.

Dr. George Doodnaught administered two drugs that put a 40-year-old mother of twins into "conscious sedation" in February 2010, David Wright said in his opening address.

She was one of 21 women, between the ages of 25 and 75, who were subjected to various forms of sexual abuse by Doodnaught while they were having operations such as knee replacements, the Crown alleged.

Doodnaught, 64, who has practised at North York General Hospital since 1981, has pleaded not guilty to 21 charges of sexual assault on patients between February 2006 and February 2010. All complainants' identities are covered by a publication ban.

Wright said that Doodnaught began fondling the 40-year-old woman's breasts under her surgical gown. Then he kissed her, Wright told Justice David McCombs in the judge-alone trial.

Wright said no one in that operating room saw the woman's head being turned to the left as Doodnaught forced the woman to perform oral sex.

The woman is a critical witness in the trial as it was her reporting of Doodnaught's alleged sexual assault "that triggered both the hospital and police investigations," Wright said.

"In fact, her complaint on Feb. 12, 2010, was the fifth since 2006 where a female patient had complained of being sexually assaulted by George Doodnaught in an operating room at North York General," Wright said. "Conscious sedation was used in all cases."

In August 2009, a 49-year-old patient undergoing a hysterectomy alleged Doodnaught kissed her neck, fondled her breasts and placed his penis in her hand and asked her to hold it, Wright said. When she asked the doctor, "Do I have to do this?" he replied, "Yes, it's part of your healing."

Then, while waking her up, Wright said, Doodnaught said the woman asked him what happened and he said, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

In December 2006, Wright said a 52-year-old hernia patient, a nurse, woke up during her operation to find she was being abused.

"She fought it and yelled out, ‘Stop it, stop it,'" Wright alleged, adding she recalled Doodnaught shushing her during the sexual assault.

Two doctors, Dr. Stan Feinburg and Dr. Winston Lyew, recalled hearing the patient cry out more than once, Wright said.

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