Published September 15, 2013
A Los Angeles woman is suing an area hospital after one of its surgeons affixed a fake mustache to her upper lip and fake tears and then photographed her – all while she was still under anesthesia.
ABC News reports the unnamed patient, who also worked at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, where the procedure was performed October 2011, also hit her unidentified anesthesiologist with a raft of incendiary legal claims.
The patient says she learned of the bizarre photos from co-workers who had seen them after returning to work as a surgical supply purchaser at the hospital.
"Perhaps the most vulnerable position any human being will ever endure in their life is a time when they are placed under full anesthesia," reportedly reads the lawsuit, filed Aug. 15 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Among the myriad claims leveled against the anesthesiologist and Dr. Patrick Yang is that the pair also positioned the patient’s neck "so that they could keep her mouth open in order to make a crude sexual joke," during her procedure.
Perhaps most troubling is that the suit also reportedly accuses Yang and Co. of choosing to employ full anesthesia, rather than a simple sedative, so they could stage the whacky photo shoot, or “for the sole purpose of humiliating and embarrassing the patient.”
Torrance Memorial Medical Center acknowledged the alarming affair in a statement to ABC News, saying it was "intended to be humorous in nature."
And although the hospital conceded that the anesthesiologist and the nurse "demonstrated poor judgment," the medical facility reportedly dismissed most of the woman's allegations as "factually inaccurate, grossly exaggerated or fabricated."
"While the breach of professionalism outlined above regrettably did occur, Torrance Memorial is vigorously defending this lawsuit and requesting its dismissal," reportedly reads the statement, which goes on to chalk the whole matter up as a practical joke between friends gone awry.
Yang and the patient were "friendly," the hospital's statement to ABC News says, and "had a good working relationship," prior to the procedure.
"We take patient rights and privacy very seriously," the statement reportedly reads. "After our internal investigation into the 2011 incident, we conducted additional training among the hospital's staff about demonstrating professionalism at all times. We have taken substantial steps including privacy training to ensure patient rights are respected and protected for every patient in our hospital, even if that patient is a friend and colleague."