NewYork-Presbyterian sued after physician allegedly drugged, assaulted patient

NewYork-Presbyterian has been named in a civil suit that alleges a patient was drugged and sexually assaulted by Zhi Alan Cheng, MD, a gastroenterologist who previously practiced at its Flushing, N.Y., location. 

Six things to know:

1. The complaint, filed in court June 5, alleges that Dr. Cheng "performed an invasive and unnecessary rectal examination" on a 19-year-old woman under the guise of medical treatment and later drugged and sexually assaulted her. The woman had been admitted to the hospital with severe abdominal pain caused by gallstones in June 2021. More than one year later, law enforcement informed the woman that Dr. Cheng had a video recording of the assault, according to the complaint. 

2. The plaintiff allegedly informed hospital staff that an Asian male physician entered her room and gave her a painful injection that caused her to lose consciousness, and that this physician was the same one who saw her earlier that day. 

3. Hospital staff conducted a lineup of male employees and the plaintiff immediately identified Dr. Cheng, according to allegations made in the complaint. However, the lawsuit accuses the hospital of making no notes about the lineup in medical records, failing to notify police and allegedly did not suspend or terminate Dr. Cheng at that time. It is also accused of not collecting any forensic evidence, testing the plaintiff's blood to determine what she was injected with, or offering her sufficient and timely support services, according to the complaint. 

4. In December 2022, a woman with whom Dr. Cheng had an intimate relationship allegedly found videos of him sedating and sexually assaulting her on several occasions. She notified police, and Dr. Cheng was arrested on Dec. 27. Police found videos of additional sexual assaults after searching his electronic devices, including the assault on the 19-year-old plaintiff in this case, according to the complaint. 

5. NewYork-Presbyterian told Becker's that Dr. Cheng was placed off duty, banned from hospital property and terminated as soon as the district attorney informed the health system of the allegations of sexual abuse against him. 

6. On Dec. 30, Dr. Cheng was indicted by a grand jury and charged with rape, assault, unlawful surveillance and sexual abuse, among other charges. The criminal case remains open and pending. 

"The crimes committed by this individual are heinous, despicable, and a fundamental betrayal of our mission and our patients' trust. We are appalled and deeply saddened by what these victims and their families have endured," NewYork-Presbyterian said in a statement shared with Becker's. "We have numerous stringent patient safety policies and protocols in place. Our exhaustive review of this matter included an analysis of compliance with those policies, as well as the immediate implementation of additional training for all employees. At the same time, we have been examining the full breadth of our protections to identify any opportunities for further strengthening, in line with our unwavering commitment to the highest standard of patient safety and care."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars