6 physicians sue Yale anesthesiologist, accused of sexual harassment

Six female physicians are suing a high-ranking Yale University anesthesiologist and professor, accusing him of sexual harassment, according to NBC News.

The lawsuit alleges that Manuel Lopes Fontes, MD, former division chief of cardiac anesthesiology at Yale New Haven (Conn.) Hospital and director of clinical research for the anesthesiology department at Yale School of Medicine, also in New Haven, conducted himself inappropriately around the six women he supervised, including forcibly kissing them and giving them unsolicited neck massages. He also allegedly made inappropriate comments about their bodies.

Some of the women said that he retaliated when they rejected his advances, including changing their work assignments and admonishing them.

Roberta Hines, MD, department chair and chief of anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine, received complaints about Dr. Fontes in 2018 and 2019, but dismissed them saying "boys will be boys," according to the lawsuit.

Dr. Fontes was promoted to vice chair of diversity, equity and inclusion for the anesthesiology department at Yale.

Dr. Fontes denied all allegations via an attorney, NBC reports.

A Yale University spokesperson told NBC that when six plaintiffs approached the university, it "took appropriate action, offering them Yale’s Title IX resources of support, inclusive of guidance on filing a complaint with the university."

None of the women chose to file a formal complaint, the Yale spokesperson said.

The civil lawsuit, which also names Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital as defendants, claims Dr. Fontes' inappropriate and harassing behavior began soon after he was hired at Yale in 2015. It also claims he had been accused of sexual harassment at Durham, N.C.-based Duke University, where he worked before joining Yale.

The suit alleges Yale did not take any "meaningful action" against Dr. Fontes despite receiving multiple complaints.

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