Sexual misconduct suit against doctor settled in court

Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldJuly 18, 2013 

A civil lawsuit stemming from sexual misconduct claims against Dr. Lloyd V. Olson has been settled.

The anesthesiologist allegedly touched a patient's breasts while she was unconscious for surgery.

The lawsuit in Benton County Superior Court also named Premier Anesthesia, Olson’s employer at the time, and Kadlec Health System, which runs the hospital where the surgery took place.

"Although settlement was reached with Premier Anesthesia and Kadlec earlier in 2013, (the patient's) claims against Dr. Olson were not resolved until late last week," according to a news release from Tamaki Law, which represented the patient. The firm has offices in the Tri-Cities and Yakima.

The total combined settlement amount is $110,000, the news release said. It didn't specify which parties pay what, and one of the patient's attorneys said she couldn't provide a breakdown.

Olson reportedly now lives out of state; his attorney couldn't be reached Thursday afternoon.

A spokesman for Kadlec had no comment.

Megan Chang-Ngaruiya, one of the patient's attorneys, said in the news release that the woman sued "to prevent this violation of her dignity, trust and safety from happening to others."

The patient was under anesthesia for a breast biopsy on April 1, 2010, when Olson allegedly touched her breasts with both hands for one to two minutes.

The same day, he also allegedly did the same thing to another patient undergoing surgery to place a port for chemotherapy.

A surgical technician reported the two incidents. Olson has said he was checking for breast implants.

The state Medical Quality Assurance Commission summarily suspended his license in 2010.

It's since been reinstated on probation.

"It is an outrage that an anesthesiologist would sedate (the patient) and then fondle her breasts, with no medical purpose, as she lay defenseless, helpless, and totally vulnerable," said Blaine Tamaki, founder of Tamaki Law, in the news release. He said that since Olson was suspended, although temporarily, "we felt that (he) was indeed punished for his misconduct."

The patient wanted to put the situation behind her and avoid the privacy invasion of a trial, the release said.

Through her attorneys, the patient said, "I only found out about what happened to me when the hospital called me afterwards and informed me. The hospital apologized for not protecting me and keeping me safe. When I found out, I was shocked and felt my trust had been betrayed. I felt I had a duty to protect other women so I decided to stand up for my rights. I feel good that there was accountability imposed and justice achieved."

-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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